Not getting enough sleep is the worst. You walk through the day completely zonked, more sensitive to light, easily irritated — those are lack of sleep symptoms that are easy to see. Here’s the thing: your sleep deprivation is affecting you on some fundamental levels that you might not realize right away.
It’s not just about a night or two of missed sleep leading to a day where you can’t stop yawning: we’ve come up with some lack of sleep symptoms that can have some real effect on your day to day life. With over 60 million Americans experiencing insomnia in some form this year, there’s a good chance that these lack of sleep symptoms could be affecting you! So, read up and rest up, your wellbeing could depend on it.
Memory Problems: Sleep’s Effect on the Brain
Sleep is the time when your brain is able to reset and sort the information that it has acquired during the day. When you interrupt that time, or shortchange it, you risk negatively affecting both your short and long-term memory. AND, it’s not just about the short-term problems that can come from not
getting enough sleep, chronic sleeplessness could contribute to neurological disorders later in life, one study finds.
“Our findings suggest that getting an ‘average’ amount of sleep, seven hours per day, may help maintain memory in later life and that clinical interventions based on sleep therapy should be examined for the prevention of [mental] impairment,” said study leader Elizabeth Devore.
You Could Become More Emotionally Vulnerable and Prone to Mood Swings
One of the symptoms of a lack of sleep that’s easily identifiable is an increased emotional sensitivity, and an inability to control your emotions. It’s not just about being grumpy after a nap, these are real challenges that can affect an insomniac on a day to day level. A recent study by the University of Pennsylvania found that people who only got 4.5 hours of sleep for a week reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. When the subjects resumed normal sleep, they reported a dramatic improvement in mood.
This can be a vicious cycle, as you sleep less, you become more agitated, and as you become more agitated it can be harder to find the sleep you so desperately need. Take time to relax, reflect, and don’t let it get you down. The good news is that if you can revert back to a normal sleep schedule, most of these symptoms of a lack of sleep can be totally reversed. It’s just about putting in that mattress time!
Weight Gain Can Be a Common Side Effect of Insomnia
Unfortunately, when we don’t sleep, we often resort to other tactics to feel better. Oftentimes that can mean emotional eating. When we don’t get enough sleep, our impulse control often suffers. When we don’t sleep, we also produce more of the hormone cortisol, which can lead to a bigger appetite, says Dr. Michael Breus, a sleep scientist.
“The more sleep-deprived you are, the higher your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which increases your appetite,” says Breus. He also believes that this is compounded by our impaired choices due to lack of sleep. “For me, it takes a bit of willpower to choose the salad over the sandwich. When I’m tired, I go for whatever’s going to be easy and make me feel better in the moment.”
Poor sleep also results in a lower metabolism, as the body starts to save calories when it thinks it will be up for long stretches at a time. All these factors can combine to make weight gain a real issue for the poor-slept.
Lack of Sleep Can Hurt Your Sex Drive
Not getting enough rest in the bedroom can hurt other activities that happen in bed as well. When we don’t sleep, our body produces less testosterone, which is one of the main hormones associated with libido. If you’re feeling dazed and lackluster when trying to get romantic with your partner, it could be a signal that you’re feeling this lack of sleep symptom in a very real way.
Sleeping with your partner can also increase feelings of trust and intimacy, which are vital to any romantic partnership. This can manifest in better, more frequent sex that feels better for both partners. One recent survey showed that for every hour slept it corresponded directly with an increase in desire and likelihood of having sex. If you feel like things have stalled out in the bedroom, it might be time to give your mattress a little more attention and rekindle those lost feelings of romance.
The good news is that most of these symptoms are temporary, and the easiest way to fix them will also leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated: sleep more! It’s important to be consistent with your sleep, taking care to treat your body well and give it the rest it deserves! If you feel like you’re suffering from any of these symptoms, try a great night’s sleep on a good bed. It’s the cure for what ails you