Sleep deprivation is a lack of quality sleep. It is considered that most adults need around eight to nine hours sleep, continuously, in a twenty-four hour period. We have all for one reason or another, missed sleep. However, people who are sleeping much less - five or six hours a night - will soon begin to show signs of sleep deprivation.
So, why is sleep deprivation such a major a problem? Well, statistics suggest that around 45% of the world's population is suffering from it. That is an awful lot of people who are simply not able to perform at their best because they are lacking sleep. If we fail to get quality sleep on a regular basis, our lives and ultimately our health will suffer from it.
Here are nine signs you should consider when you are trying to figure out if you may need more sleep:
The first and most obvious sign of insufficient sleep is, not surprisingly, tiredness. This may seem obvious, but how many times do you find yourself denying that you are actually tired? Excuses like, "oh I am just out of sorts", or "I just need a coffee and I'll be fine" don't change the fact; good nutrition and sleep are what is needed.
Perhaps you notice yourself feeling hungry more often? This often leads to a craving for sweets or fatty foods. This is because of ghrelin, a hormone present in your stomach, which increases when you are sleep deprived and makes you crave fat and sugar. This, in turn, can lead to a decrease in the hormone leptin, which basically tells you when to stop eating! Small quantities of good, simple, easily absorbed foods and drink can help to break this negative cycle.
The third sign of sleep deprivation, therefore, can often be an increase in weight. Inches on the waist. A change for the worse in one's BMI. This leads to the bodies metabolism slowing down leading the whole situation to become worse. Slower metabolism, too much of the wrong kind of foods all lead to very rapid weight increase. Once again, think before you eat or drink.
Insulin is the hormone responsible for regulating energy. Only five hours sleep each night for a five-day period is capable of lowering your bodies ability to respond to insulin by up to 30%.
People become more impulsive when they are lacking sleep. This can cause all manner of problems. Like lashing out at a co-worker, or arguing with your family, rather than just keeping quiet. You are more likely to say things you will regret later.
Sleep deprivation affects your memory. If you regularly don't sleep enough, your ability to remember will be greatly affected. This,
of course, affects one's ability to complete even the simplest of tasks.
Sleep deprivation has negative effects on your sex life. It is suggested that one's sex drive can diminish with lack of sleep. Both men and women have lowered testosterone levels when subjected to periods of sleep deprivation. In periods as short as a week, with only five hours a night, men were found to have between a 15% and 30% drop in testosterone - a not insignificant amount. It has also been suggested that lack of sleep can cause men to misjudge the sexual intentions of their partners.
Lack of enough time sleeping is linked to depression, and this causes a vicious circle - as depressed people often find it very difficult to get enough quality sleep.
Lastly, if you are not sleeping enough your skin will start to show the signs. Bags under the eyes, wrinkles, dry skin - all are influenced by sleep. A sensible, balanced diet incorporating healthy cleansing food and drink will help. Giving the body a chance to recoup its strength and then hopefully sleep better.
Switch off all those screens, your phone, pad, TV, etc. Sleep in a cool and dark room. Get into a routine of going to bed at the same time. Make sure your bed is comfortable. No food or drink in the hour before bed. Most difficult of all, try to wind down and relax. Establishing a routine will take a little time, but will be worth it in the end. Sleep is the first place to start establishing good health. Without quality sleep, all the good food, drink, and exercise will be to no avail.