A night of good sleep is vital for your health and well-being. It can help you fight off disease, face problems in your day, and become more productive overall. How Signs of Lack of Sleep begin to kick in.

Awareness of what’s happening to your body, including when you’re sleeping less than you need is essential to help you avoid common health problems that can easily wreck your body if not controlled.

This article takes you through the common signs of sleep deprivation, including memory loss, tiredness during the day, difficulty concentrating on work, and what you can do to improve your sleep for overall health.

Also, see Do Bananas Help You Sleep? and Why Am I not sleeping Well?

What is Sleep Deprivation?

Sleep deprivation simply means inadequate sleep or getting less sleep than needed. According to the national sleep foundation, adequate sleep for adults ranges anywhere between seven to nine hours each night, while children and teens may require even more.

Research shows that one-third of American adults are affected by sleep deprivation, and it gets worse daily.

What are the Signs of Lack of Sleep?

white female lying in bed

1. Slowed thinking

Lack of sleep can lead to decreased processing speed, which can impact your ability to think clearly and make decisions.

This is because lack of sleep causes a decrease in critical brain chemicals like acetylcholine and dopamine. As a result, your ability to think clearly and make decisions rapidly decreases.

2. Reduced attention span

According to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, people who lack sleep are more likely to have shorter attention spans. Researchers found that people who slept for just six hours or less per night were three times as likely to have short attention spans as those who got at least eight hours of sleep each night.

The study participants were asked to perform a series of tasks that required them to focus on one task and ignore other distractions. The tasks were designed to measure how well participants could stay on task for long periods of time. 

Results showed that people with shorter attention spans were less able than those with longer attention spans to stay focused on the task at hand for more than 10 minutes.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your schoolwork or struggling to keep up with your work schedule, make sure you’re getting enough rest – it could be the key to improving your focus and overall productivity.

3. Worsened memory

Lack of sleep is known to be one of the leading causes of memory decline. 

In a study published in the journal “Sleep,” researchers found that those who reported having a diminished ability to remember new information were more likely to also have shorter sleep durations. 

The participants in the study were asked to take a test measuring their memory recall after either getting only 7 hours of sleep or getting around 8 hours of sleep. The results showed that those who got less than 7 hours of sleep had significantly lower recall scores than those who got at least 8 hours of sleep. The researchers say that this demonstrates how insufficient sleep can negatively impact memory function.

4. Poor or risky decision-making

Poor or risky decision-making can be a sign of lack of sleep. Research shows that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to make poor decisions. They’re also more likely to engage in riskier behaviors, like gambling and driving while impaired. 

Poor decision-making can have long-term consequences, including financial ruin and health problems. If you’re feeling exhausted, make sure to get enough sleep. It’ll help you make better choices and stay safe.

5. Lack of energy

Lack of sleep can also diminish your energy levels is another common symptom of lack of sleep

One reason for this is that when you’re not getting enough sleep, your brain doesn’t get the rest it needs to function at its best. When your brain isn’t getting enough rest, it produces lower levels of dopamine and serotonin. These two neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating moods and keeping us feeling motivated.

Another reason is that lack of sleep disrupts the body’s natural pattern of sleep and wakefulness. When people don’t get enough sleep, their bodies keep trying to catch up by going into overdrive during the night. This makes it difficult for the body to relax and fall asleep again later in the night.

Overall, lack of sleep is definitely something that should be taken seriously if you want to maintain good energy levels throughout the day.

6. Irritability and frustration

Sleep deprivation has been shown to significantly impact both irritability and frustration levels. Poorly rested individuals tend to be more irritable and frustrated, likely because they are less able to control their emotions. This is due in part to the fact that when we are tired, our brain is not as capable of making quick decisions. This can lead to frustration when tasks that should take a short amount of time take longer than expected or when we encounter obstacles during our day that we would rather not deal with. 

Additionally, being fatigued also leads us to make poorer choices regarding how we spend our time, which can lead to further frustration.

7. Excessive yawning

According to the National Sleep Foundation, excessive yawning is a common symptom of sleep deprivation. It’s often considered a sign of boredom or lack of interest in what’s happening, but it can also indicate sleepiness.

 When you yawn, your brain sends a signal to the muscles in your mouth and throat to open wide. This allows air to enter your lungs and helps you stay awake. 

But if you’re not getting enough sleep, your body can’t properly regulate its energy levels. That means your brain will keep sending the yawning signal. So if you find yourself yawning more than usual, make sure to get enough sleep each night.

Effects of sleep deprivation on the body

1. Sleep deprivation can increase your risk for heart disease.

A study published in the journal Circulation found that people who slept less than six hours a night were 30% more likely to develop heart disease than those who got seven or more hours of sleep each night. 

The researchers say that this link is probably because insufficient sleep leads to increased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that increases the risk for heart conditions.

Cortisol can increase the risk of heart disease by increasing the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. It can also increase the risk of stroke, especially in people with high blood pressure.

2. Lack of sleep causes obesity

Obesity is a condition in which a person’s body mass index (BMI) is greater than 30. 

BMI is a measure of weight in relation to height. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, while a BMI of 30 or more is obesity.

Obesity increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. It can also make it difficult to move around, exercise, or get a good night’s sleep.

Lack of sleep can cause weight gain in a number of ways. First, insufficient sleep can lead to an increase in hunger levels. This is because when you don’t get enough sleep, your brain reduces its production of leptin, a hormone that signals the body to stop eating. 

Second, lack of sleep can lead to an increase in cortisol, a hormone that increases fat storage. 

And finally, lack of sleep can also cause you to eat more calories overall while spending less because it decreases your energy levels and slows down your metabolism.

All these factors add up over time and can result in obesity. So if you’re struggling to get enough shut-eye, make sure to schedule some extra time for yourself every night and see how that affects your weight and health overall.

3. Depression and anxiety

Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health conditions worldwide.

They are caused by a combination of factors, including genetics, environment, and lifestyle. One of the biggest contributors to these conditions is lack of sleep. 

Sleep is essential for your brain and body. It helps you recharge and restores your energy. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces more stress hormones, which can lead to depression and anxiety. 

People with depression and anxiety often have trouble sleeping because they are constantly thinking about their problems.

4. It may cause premature aging of the skin

Lack of sleep is one of the biggest causes of premature aging, and it’s also known to cause a number of skin issues. 

According to a study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, people who get less than six hours of sleep a night are more likely to have wrinkles and age spots on their skin than people who sleep eight or more hours.

When people don’t get enough sleep, their bodies produce an abnormal amount of cortisol, which can lead to the breakdown of skin cells leading to wrinkles.

Research has also found that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have lower levels of antioxidants in their blood, which can lead to cell damage and inflammation. This can cause signs like dry skin, acne, and wrinkles.

5. Shortens longevity

People who sleep less than six hours per night are more likely to die prematurely. This is because a short sleep duration increases your risk of chronic conditions, which in turn can increase your risk of death.

Also, short sleep may be a marker for other unhealthy behaviors that contribute to early death, such as smoking and poor diet.

In one study, researchers found that sleeping for five hours or less at the age of 50 increased the risk of mortality by 25% over 25 years of follow-up.

Another study found that those who slept for less than five hours a night were almost three times as likely to die before the age of 80 as those who slept for eight hours or more. 

In the study, the link between shorter sleep and premature death was strongest among men but also existed in women.

6. Increases the risk of diabetes

Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep are at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes by causing insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. 

This is because your body’s natural insulin production decreases when you don’t get enough sleep. This can lead to an increase in blood sugar levels, which increases the risk for type 2 diabetes.

Also, your metabolism slows down when you don’t get enough sleep. This means that you will likely consume more calories than necessary and put on weight, which can contribute to the development of Type 2 diabetes.

Finally, when you don’t get enough sleep, your brain doesn’t function as well as it should. This can lead to increased cravings for unhealthy foods, increasing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Tips to get more sleep

  1. Establish a bedtime routine that is comfortable and soothing for you. This could include reading or listening to calming music before bed, taking a relaxing bath, or simply taking time to relax.
  2. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime. These beverages can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to poor-quality sleep.
  3. Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet when you go to sleep, as this will help promote an uninterrupted slumber.
  4. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation before bed to calm your mind and body before sleep onset.
  5. Avoid using electronic screens in the hours leading up to bedtime to avoid disrupting your sleep cycle.
  6. Regular exercise can improve overall fitness levels and help promote better sleep habits.
  7. Avoid eating heavy meals close to bedtime as this may lead to difficulty sleeping due to the body working to digest the food instead of resting.

Other Articles to read:

  1. What Teas Help You Sleep Better?
  2. Types of Sleep Disorders
  3. What to do if You Can’t Sleep
  4. Morning Breath: What are the Causes Plus Preventions

Final Thoughts

Lack of sleep is a real problem that can have a wide range of effects on your body and mind.

Some of the most common signs that you might be getting insufficient sleep include difficulty concentrating, feeling irritable, feeling depressed or having mood swings, and low energy levels, among others. 

If you find yourself struggling with any one or more of these symptoms, it might be time to invest in a good night’s sleep.

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