One of the most important yet underrated aspects of health and wellness is sleep. In the age of the side hustle and social media, it can be tempting to go without sleep. However, people don’t realize that the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” attitude is more likely to shorten a lifespan rather than make it meaningful. Whether it is in favor of a new side hustle or just bingeing that new show on that streaming website, one thing is clear: long-term sleep deprivation causes a laundry list of problems.
Sleep deprivation is linked to negative effects on nearly every system in the body, from the cardiovascular system to the digestive. By running on less sleep than you need, you open yourself to the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Studies have also shown that 20% of fatal car accidents involve a sleep-deprived driver. When it comes to depriving yourself of sleep, you are not only risking your life but the lives of others.
As such, we’ve assembled this list of the most obvious signs of sleep deprivation so that you can examine your sleep habits more meaningfully, giving you a better grasp of your own health and wellness.
Here are some of the signs you lack sleep:
1. You experience mood swings
One of the telltale signs of sleep deprivation is moodiness. If you feel more cranky than usual, it might be possible that you are not sleeping long enough. The worst part is that it goes beyond just occasional crankiness. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation increases the likelihood of developing mood disorders in people of any age. Not only are you more at risk of being irritated by even the most mundane things, but you also increase your chances of suffering the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
2. You feel stressed all the time
The most important thing to understand about stress is that it is the body’s fight-or-flight response at play. It is a state in which the body heightens its capacity to respond to dangers by introducing hormones that change your heart rate, tense your muscles, and so on. In a dangerous situation, this is useful; over an extended period of time, it can cause problems with your heart, metabolism, and muscle structure.
Sleep deprivation often triggers the stress response in a certain way. The subconscious perceives even what is normal as stressors, unnecessarily putting us in this altered state of function over extended periods.
3. Your cognitive functions are faulty
Sleep is directly tied to the development of long-term memories. Essentially, it is during sleep that the mind “saves” memories. Without enough sleep, you would be hampering this process. It not only reduces your capacity to create new memories, but it also might make it difficult for you to recall the memories you already had.
Learning and problem-solving are also severely hampered with a lack of sleep. This means that it is not just your health and wellness that might be affected, but your performance in work or school.
With all the hustle and bustle of life, it might be tempting to think sleep is something that you can have less of. In reality, you would be lowering your chance of spending your hours awake in more meaningful ways. With all the risks to both your physical and mental health that sleep deprivation has, it would do you well to avoid it.
If you need resources on better sleep and other health and wellness topics, send us a message at The Skinny. We have all the information needed for you to feel better in your own body.