Are you feeling forgetful, moody or anxious throughout the day? Have you tried going to bed early, but just can’t seem to fall asleep? You’re not alone.
Roughly 30% of adults are not getting the sleep they need on a regular basis. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults should be sleeping about 8 hours per night. Unfortunately, the CDC has found that ⅓ of the adult population is sleeping less than 6 hours.
If you’re part of that 30%, you’re probably feeling it in the form of fatigue, irritability, brain fog, or a number of symptoms. These are five signs indicating you’re not getting enough quality sleep.
Even if you are reaching the desired 8 hours of sleep most nights of the week, there’s a possibility you’re not getting enough rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep usually occurs about 90 minutes after you fall asleep, so if you wake up often, you may not even be experiencing REM sleep at all. This is when your brain is most active, and studies have found that REM sleep affects certain mental skills, like thinking, learning, recalling, and organizing information. When your brain doesn’t get the REM sleep needed to refresh and process information, you can feel forgetful, unproductive, or scatterbrained.
You may not want to admit it, but your lack of quality sleep is affecting the way you deal with others, including your husband, wife, kids, and coworkers. Irritability, depression, and moodiness are all signs of sleep deprivation. When your emotional health suffers due to a lack of deep sleep, you may take it out on those closest to you.
It’s easy to assume that anxiety is a byproduct of all of the stresses of daily life. But it’s likely your anxiety is tied to something else -- not getting enough restful sleep. A healthy amount of quality sleep is necessary for remaining level-headed and managing stress. Unfortunately, anxiety can also make it difficult for you to fall and stay asleep, creating a never-ending cycle of anxious feelings throughout the day and insomnia at night. Studies have shown that those experiencing chronic insomnia are at higher risk of developing anxiety disorders.
Sleep deprivation doesn’t just negatively affect your mental health, it can strain your physical health too. People with sleep disorders, and those habitually not getting enough quality sleep are at higher risk for heart failure, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, heart attack, and obesity.
The hormone leptin is responsible for telling your brain that your body has enough energy stored, and it can engage in normal metabolic processes, allowing you to eat, burn energy, and exercise at a normal rate. The leptin hormone is reduced if you sleep less than 6 hours per night, which means you may experience increased appetite, slower metabolism, and other side-effects leading to weight gain and obesity.
You’re probably aware that a lack of quality sleep will make you feel tired the next day. But sleepiness doesn’t always come in the most obvious form, like nodding off during an important meeting. If you find yourself at the coffee machine multiple times per day and yawning roughly every half hour, it’s likely you’re not getting enough sleep at night.
Experiencing a lack of quality sleep isn’t something that should be overlooked. It could be the source of your anxiety, moodiness, weight gain, or health issues, and it can cause even more problems at work or in your personal life down the road. Start tackling your sleep issues now to wake up feeling refreshed, with a clear head, and ready to tackle anything the day can throw at you.
What are some solutions?
Take the “what’s your sleep like quiz” here and find out!
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