A sleep expert has revealed five signs you may be suffering from sleep deprivation — including takeaway cravings and weight gain.
New York-based Jasmine Lee, of EachNight Mattresses, says sleep deprivation is much more common than you might think.
Sleep deprivation occurs when you don’t get enough sleep over time, for example because you go to bed too late.
And according to the psychologist and sleep writer, repeatedly missing sleep can become a threat to our mental and physical health.
New York-based Jasmine Lee of EachNight Mattresses has revealed the five signs you might experience if you’re suffering from sleep deprivation (stock image)
Short-term effects of insufficient sleep include feeling moody and difficulty concentrating throughout the day.
According to Jasmine Lee, the long-term effects can be much more serious, with sleep deprivation linked to multiple health conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
Therefore, sleep is essential for a healthier lifestyle.
What are some signs that I am sleep deprived?
1. Fancy takeout food
If you suddenly feel the urge to eat takeaway or junk food, it could be a symptom of sleep deprivation.
Lack of sleep alters appetite-regulating hormones, as well as metabolism and brain function.
Therefore, we are much more likely to eat junk food because of the craving for high calories, high sugar, high fat and salty snacks as a way to boost our energy levels.
How much sleep do I need to avoid sleep deprivation?
- Newborns (0 to 3 months): between 14 and 17 hours of sleep
- Infants (four to 11 months): between 12 and 15 hours of sleep
- Toddlers (one to two years): 11 to 14 hours of sleep
- Pre-school (three to five years): 10 to 13 hours of sleep
- Children (six to 13 years old): nine to 11 hours of sleep
- Teens (14 to 17 years old): eight to ten hours of sleep
- Adults (18 to 64 years old): seven to nine hours of sleep
- Older adults (65+ years): seven to eight hours of sleep
Sleep is vital for our bodies to regulate our internal temperature, says Jasmine.
Therefore, if you are hot, your body can overheat due to a constant lack of good quality sleep.
In fact, as we become more and more tired, our brains begin to overheat, with yawning being a method of compensating for this failure of thermoregulation.
3. Bad Memory
Sleep deprivation can affect the brain’s ability to learn and recall information.
During REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, the brain is active, processing information and storing memories from the previous day.
Less sleep disrupts this process because the body spends less time in this REM cycle.
The next day, you may have trouble remembering what was said at a business meeting or what assignments you have.
Sleep deprivation also makes it harder for the brain to take in new information because the brain works hard to focus and take in information.
Not only is your ability to remember affected, but your motor skills suffer as well, as the brain’s ability to store memory includes motor skills and physical reflexes.
This is another reason why a high percentage of car accidents occur due to sleep deprivation.
Drivers with sleep deprivation have a slower reaction time. Poor motor skills can also be problematic if you exercise with less sleep — you may have trouble performing a specific movement or maneuver, preventing you from performing at your best.
Long-term effects of sleep deprivation have been linked to health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, which is why sleep is critical to a healthier lifestyle
4. Weight Gain
Less sleep causes changes in the hormone levels that regulate your hunger. Leptin lets the body know when it is full, while ghrelin signals hunger.
Little sleep produces less leptin and more ghrelin, which means you’ll feel hungrier, but your body will respond more slowly when you’re full, and you’ll likely eat more than you need to.
In addition, studies have shown that sleep deprivation can cause an increase in cortisol levels.
Cortisol is a stress hormone responsible for retaining energy (sugars and fat) to use later. More stress means your body retains more fat.
Your insulin levels are also affected. With a higher production of cortisol, your body is less sensitive to insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that converts food into energy. Your body has a harder time processing fats from the bloodstream as it becomes less sensitive to insulin. These fats are eventually stored in the body, leading to weight gain.
Too little sleep can also affect your diet, with studies showing that less sleep leads to consuming more junk food.
You’re more likely to have intense cravings for high-fat, sugary foods, such as French fries and ice cream, and you’re also more likely to give in to those cravings.
Studies show that sleep loss is associated with making risky decisions. You become more impulsive and less likely to think about loss, you only focus on the reward
5. Bad decision making
Studies have shown that sleep loss can be linked to making riskier decisions, finding that people can become more impulsive when they are sleep deprived.
Scientists have used gambling tasks to assess how 24 hours of sleep deprivation can affect decision-making, while making poor decisions can lead to a loss-making outcome.
Researchers have found that sleep-deprived individuals on these tasks are more likely to choose higher-risk decks and worry less about potential negative consequences compared to well-rested individuals, who learn to avoid high-risk decks as they progress. the game progresses.
A 2007 study published in the journal SLEEP used fMRI imaging technology to observe what happens in the brain when sleep-deprived people make these risky decisions under experimental conditions.
The scientists found that a part of the brain involved in reward anticipation, called the nucleus accumbens, “became more active when high-risk, high-payoff choices were made under sleep deprivation conditions.”
In addition, the response to losses in a part of the brain that evaluates the emotional significance of an event (the insula) was reduced.
This built on previous findings that sleep-deprived people are more likely to overestimate the potential rewards of risky behavior while underestimating the potential negative consequences.
For more information about sleep deprivation and how to combat it, visit www.eachnight.com.
HOW CAN I SLEEP BETTER?
If you’re looking to improve your sleep hygiene and make sure you’re getting enough Zzzz’s, try incorporating these tips into your routine.
- Set up a sleep schedule
Setting a bedtime may seem childish, but in reality it works. A fixed sleep and wake time makes it easier to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning.
Your body adjusts to the rhythm, so when it’s time to go to bed, you may automatically start to feel sleepy.
It’s just as important to stick to this schedule on weekends as well. Bodies respond positively to these consistent rhythms.
It can be tempting to sleep in for a few hours, but doing so can throw your body off guard. And if you’re getting the right amount of sleep, you probably won’t need that extra time.
Setting a bedtime may seem childish, but in reality it works. A fixed sleep and wake time makes it easier to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning
2. Avoid heavy meals
There may be some truth in the ‘eat like a pauper’ philosophy.
Avoiding heavy meals and snacks can improve your sleep.
Heavy meals take longer to digest. When it’s time for bed, your body may be focused on digesting, making it harder to fall asleep.
The best time to dine is between 6:00 PM and 6:30 PM so that your body has time to digest your meal.
3. Keep your bedroom dark
Your body’s sleep-wake cycle is affected by melatonin. Your body continuously produces melatonin.
However, production is lowest during the day and strongest at night. That’s because melatonin is mostly secreted at night, in response to darkness.
Keeping your bedroom dark ensures sleep. Any exposure to light can lower melatonin levels and make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
If you can’t make your bedroom dark, a sleep mask can also be effective.
4. Avoid your phone or laptop
We’ve all been there: you climb into bed and start scrolling through your phone, checking messages and browsing social media sites.
This may seem like a relaxing activity to help you sleep, but it’s quite the opposite.
When you use an electronic device (TV, tablet, computer or smartphone), you expose yourself to blue light.
Blue light makes your brain think it’s still daytime, stopping melatonin production and making it harder to fall asleep.
Try to avoid electronic devices an hour or two before bedtime. If you have to scroll through your phone, use your night settings or the apps that filter blue light.