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10 Signs You’re Sleep Deprived

You know you’re supposed to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night, but sometimes it’s just not possible… or you decide to watch just one more episode on Netflix… three times. We get it — it happens to the best of us!

When you skimp on sleep repeatedly, it becomes a real problem. Chronic sleep deprivation, has serious health ramifications. Lack of sleep has been tied to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression.

Tired businesswoman sleeping on the desk, in front of the computer screen.
Not sure if your sleep cycle is in dire straits? Check out these 10 signs that you’re sleep deprived.

1. You’re always hungry. If your brain isn’t getting the energy it needs from sleep, it will often try and get it from food, according to Chris Winter, MD and owner of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine in Virginia. Running on fumes can increase the production of ghrelin, also known as the hunger hormone, in your gut. Too much ghrelin makes your body want fatty and sugary foods. Lack of sleep also messes with leptin, the satiety hormone, causing you to overeat.

2. You’ve gained weight. When you’re tired, you’re far more likely to overeat as you search for anything and everything that will help you feel more energized. Lack of sleep can also impact your metabolism as it tends to slow down without proper rest.

3. You’re more impulsive. When you’re exhausted, you tend to act without thinking — mindlessly eating, drinking, snapping at those you care about.

4. Your memory is shot. When you’re tired, it’s difficult to pay attention to detail and surroundings when trying to make a memory. You may find yourself losing your car keys more often, struggling to remember what you were supposed to pick up from the store, etc. Sleep actually helps clear toxic molecules from the brain, so not getting enough sleep can impair your brain’s ability to keep the nervous system firing on all cylinders.

5. You can’t make up your mind. Sleep deprivation can impact speed and higher-level cognitive processing, making essential functions like problem solving or time management difficult to carry out.

6. Your motor skills are off. If you find yourself repeatedly tripping over your own feet or bumping into walls, you might just be too tired to focus. When you’re walking up and down stairs, through hallways, etc., there is a lot of processing happening in your brain, and lack of sleep makes that difficult to do.

7. Your emotions are all over the place. If you’re sleep deprived, your emotions can easily be out of whack. You cry at the drop of a hat, you laugh hysterical at the dumbest jokes, you fly off the handle over spilt milk, etc.

8. You get sick often. If you’re not sleeping properly, your body’s ability to fight off infections is weakened. Your immune system produces cytokines while you sleep, which are proteins that help protect you against infections and inflammation, so sleep truly is one of nature’s best medicines.

9. You’re skin has seen better days. It’s called “beauty sleep” for a reason. As you sleep, your skin works to repair damaged cells, so if you’re not getting enough sleep, the process is disrupted. This means that sleep deprivation causes more breakouts and even older looking skin!

10. You’re having trouble seeing. When you’re tired, your ability to control your eye muscles well is weakened. Not getting enough sleep tires out your ciliary muscle (helps your eye focus) and your extra ocular muscle (moves the eye from side to side and up and down).

What’s the verdict? Are you sleep deprived? If so, turn off your phone or computer and go to sleep!