Did you know that a good night’s sleep is one of the biggest all-round health boost you can get? We all feel better when we’ve slept well, but you might not realise how a lack of sleep may be affecting you in your everyday life (aside from the tiredness, of course).
GLAMOUR spoke to leading psychologist, Hope Bastine – (BSc (Hons), PGCE, HypDip, RYT, MBCT/MBSR Cert, MSc, PhD Researcher) who is resident expert for sleep technology firm Simba – about the key signs to look out for that suggest you may not be getting enough kip.
“You might think your five-hours-a night is nothing to worry about,” she says. “Chronic sleep deprivation can affect your cognitive performance at work, but has also been linked in some studies to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression and can even affect your performance in endurance sports.”
Remember: the worst thing you can do when you’re not sleeping well is put pressure on yourself to sleep more. But being aware of how you feel during the daytime could give you some clues about how you can improve your sleep routine.
Here are a few subtle signs your body needs more time in bed:
You’re perpetually hungry
If your brain is deprived of the energy it requires from sleep, it’ll often try to get it from elsewhere – namely food! Not getting adequate rest increases the production of the hunger hormone, ghrelin. And too much of this makes us crave sugary and fatty foods. On top of this, poor sleep can affect something else called leptin – the satiety hormone. If you’re not getting adequate sleep you are more inclined to buckle to your cravings because you’re not feeling the signals to stop eating.
Tiredness could be the culprit. When you’re tired, you’re not going to be on your A game. Sleep deprivation can affect speed and higher-level cognitive processing. This means essential functions, like problem solving, decision making or time management, become even more difficult to carry out.
You feel like you’re on an emotional roller-coaster
If you find yourself reacting to things that wouldn’t have affected you previously, or perhaps you feel yourself swinging from being wildly happy to particularly weepy, this can be triggered by poor sleep. Your reactions to emotional stimuli can send your feelings into overdrive when you haven’t had enough shuteye.
F is for…err…forgetful
Getting enough sleep is essential for brain health in the long term. Sleep leads to memory consolidation and emotional processing. So a lack of rest may be messing with your memory. When you’re tired, it’s harder to form memories.
Your appetite for sex has taken a nose-dive
A study from the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that sleep-deprived women were 14 percent less likely to have sex than those who got proper sleep. It’s not just you though. Your partner can feel the effects too. Another study from the University Chicago showed that men with poor sleep patterns have significantly lower levels of testosterone – the body’s natural mojo – which reduces their interest in being intimate with their partner.
You’ve suddenly become more clumsy
It’s not just your emotions that are harder to control when you’re sleep deprived. It’s your body, too. If you find you’re having one of those days where you trip up, drop your morning coffee and bump into things all in the space of 24 hours, it can be a sign you’re overtired. When you’re less rested, there’s a lapse in how you neurologically function in general. If you’re busy rushing about, there’s a lot of processing going on. And when we’re sleep deprived our brains can’t process as well.