Have you been sleeping enough lately? Did you know that the average American gets less than 7 hours of sleep every night? This is terrible for you both physically and mentally. So bad, it will start affecting multiple aspects of your life. Let’s talk today about different signs you’re not getting enough sleep.
Will you have mood swings? What about memory problems? Hang on, can lack of sleep actually make you gain weight? We’re talking all that AND more…
Yes, You Will Gain Weight.
Let’s put it this way. The less you sleep, the more you eat.
It’s hard enough battling the urge to eat when you actually are sleeping enough. Just imagine how bad your food cravings would be if you were always tired. Anyone who’s missed out on sleep will tell you just how bad their eating habits get. If they’re not binging on junk foods, their trips to the drive-thru will at least double. Newsflash, folks… This is no coincidence.
There’s a direct link between lack of sleep and weight gain. A study from 2020 showed that adults who slept less than 7 hours a night saw their risk of obesity shoot up by 41%. Other studies have also come to this conclusion. A study from 2015 showed that the circumference of your waist was connected to the amount of time you slept every night.
There’s also another element at play here. Spoiler alert, you’re going to be reading a lot about hormones in this article. It’s something called ghrelin (grell-in). Yes, ghrelin. I know, it’s a funny little word, but it makes a huge difference when it comes to your appetite.
Also known as the “hunger hormone”, ghrelin is produced in your stomach, small intestine, pancreas and brain. It stimulates your appetite, increases your food intake and promotes fat storage. When you’re not sleeping properly, ghrelin goes out of control. You’ll begin craving food like never before. Once you step on the scale and notice the difference, you’ll start realizing your sleeping habits are not what they’re supposed to be.
If you find yourself eating a sugary meal in the middle of the day, and crashing soon after, your body likely isn’t getting the energy it needs. With your blood sugar levels dropping, you’ll soon be craving another snack to help boost your energy back up to where it was. It’s like an endless cycle. This is one of the first signs that you need to get more sleep.
If you’re not sleeping for whatever reason, try making sure you’re at least choosing healthier foods. Lack of sleep with a poor diet is a bad combo.
Another Subtle Sign Is Memory Loss.
Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation and forgotten somebody’s name? It’s so creepy. I mean, you knew it days ago. Now all of the sudden, it’s on the tip of your tongue. Well brace yourself, because if you’re not sleeping the right hours, this is going to happen over and over again.
Sleep doesn’t just revamp your energy levels, it also gives your brain time to reboot. There are several stages your brain needs to go through during the sleep cycle. The more sleep you’re getting, the better your brain will function during the day.
Getting the proper hours of sleep will allow your brain to process information, and pay better attention. By the way, you may be asking yourself, “what is the proper amount of sleep?” Experts recommend that the average adult sleeps anywhere between 7 to 9 hours a night. The average teenager needs between 8 to 10.
People with conditions like insomnia often have a hard time concentrating throughout the day. This impacts their ability to work and process information. Over time, they will end up getting through their day on autopilot, dozing in and out of sleep without even realizing. This is no way to live. It can even lead to serious disease as you get older.
Take this for example. Studies have shown that lack of sleep can increase your chances of developing Alzheimer’s as you get older. This is all just another reason to go to bed earlier.
Your Work Performance Is Suffering.
This ties in with concentration. Think about it, if you’re unable to focus, how the heck are you going to finish anything? All of your tasks are going to be affected, whether you’re at work, or at home. Your boss who was once impressed is really going to be having second thoughts about that promotion. Sooner or later, your job may even be at risk.
This is what happens when you’re not getting enough sleep. It’s time we brought up another hormone. This time it’s cortisol. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that helps control your body’s response to stress. Lack of sleep makes your cortisol levels spike through the roof. If your mind isn’t well rested, you’re going to be all worked up during your shift. This will leave you too overwhelmed to do a proper job.
This is especially bad if your job requires you to be physical. If you’re working construction and you’re not getting the right amount of rest, this could put you and your coworkers in danger. High cortisol equals less dopamine. This is a hormone that makes you feel rewarded. It also works to motivate you. If you’re feeling unmotivated, you’re not going to care about doing a good job.
You’re Always Going To Be Stressed.
Due to the pace of daily life, it’s easy to feel wound up. Just being stuck in the drive-thru early morning is enough to make you want to pull your hair out. But if you’re not getting enough sleep, this can take your stress to a whole new level.
Chronic stress can impact your mental health in a serious way. Not only is your mind affected, your body will also take a hit. Studies have shown that chronic stress can increase your risk of heart disease.
In other words, the less you sleep, the more pressure it’s going to put on your heart. Add a bunch of greasy, gross food into the mix, and it could be a recipe for disaster. Did you know that heart disease is already the leading cause of death around the world? In the United States, one person dies from it every 36 seconds! That’s almost 660,000 people a year!
Cortisol also plays a big role in this. If you’re feeling stressed out, your cortisol levels will increase even more. This will leave your brain even more overwhelmed, leading to confusion and anxiety. Actually, this is something that deserves its own discussion…
You’ll Constantly Be Anxious.
If you’re always on edge, with your mind wandering into dangerous places, you might want to think about going to bed earlier tonight. Lack of sleep will heighten your anxiety. Just the slightest thought will have you breathing heavily and biting your nails.
Studies have found that sleep deprivation only leads to an increased risk of anxiety. The next time you’re suddenly feeling worried about something and you can’t figure out why, you might want to turn in for the night a little earlier.
You’re Making All The Wrong Decisions.
This goes back to the connection between sleep and our inability to focus. If you’re not going to bed at a decent hour, you’re not going to be able to think properly. This affects your decision making ability. The choices you make in everyday life are going to worsen. As a result, your life is going to go downhill.
If you’re in the workplace, you might make a decision that hurts your company. If it’s a physical job, you could literally hurt someone. Sooner or later, your decision may get you fired.
Bad decision making can also affect your home life. Since you’re so tired, you might decide to take a nap when there’s yard work that needs to be done. Your partner might also grow frustrated with you. And what if you decide to drive a car on just a couple hours sleep? Lack of sleep leaves you less alert behind the wheel and will affect your reaction time. This is considered a form of cognitive impairment, and is on par with drinking and driving.
A person who’s too tired will usually put their comfort before others. This is one of the reasons you will eat on impulse. If the image of a burger pops in your head, you’re going to go out and get one. The mental block that says, “you don’t need that burger right now” won’t be quick enough to save you. Since their brain is so clouded, its’ harder for you to tell what might actually be bad for you.
Lack Of Sleep Could Cause Mood Swings.
Have you ever felt suddenly irritable? These are mood swings in a nutshell, and they can be a pain for both you and the people around you.
Not sleeping can cause you to feel cranky. Just the slightest bit of discomfort can set you off. You’ll soon become an enemy of your coworkers.
There are so many terrible feelings that arise when you’re not going to bed early enough. The link between our emotions and sleeping patterns has been researched for years. Studies show that people who aren’t sleeping will experience an increase in anger, frustration and sadness. If you weren’t feeling anxious before, you’re gonna feel it soon.
It’s also been suggested that lack of sleep is connected to aggressive behavior. This includes violent outbursts. Keep in mind, there is much evidence to support this claim, but we’ve all had moments where we’re so tired, just a person saying the wrong thing is enough to make us snap.
Your sleep is so important to your health. but there are so many other things about your lifestyle that also play a role.