Sometimes you stay up late. A night on the town, a deadline at work, a Seinfeld marathon that doesn’t wrap until the wee hours of the morning. We’ve all been there. But did you know that after 24 hours of sleep deprivation, there’s a drop in the amount of glucose reaching your brain? Thinking, memory, and learning are closely linked to glucose levels, so essentially this drop makes you dumber. The consequences of chronic sleep deprivation? Cancer, obesity, depression, memory loss, and immune system failure (to name a few). Read on for subtle signs your body needs more time under the covers.
1. You’ve got the munchies. Do you crave chocolate, chips, or other junk food? Don’t fault yourself for that wavering willpower. Your body might be trying to get your brain a shot of glucose - STAT. Our ancestors needed bonus brainpower to avoid predators, and this survival mechanism is still alive and well within us. Insufficient sleep diminishes your decision-making skills and can lead to a weight gain of two pounds in a week!
2. You look like you had a rough night. We all know puffy eyes and dark undereye circles are dead giveaways that you’re short on sleep. Less obvious? A dull complexion and an unhappy appearance. A natural increase in blood flow while you’re asleep gives you a healthy, radiant glow when you wake. After a lackluster night of sleep, the corners of your mouth can actually droop, making you look more melancholy. We kid you not. Turn that frown upside down.
3. Feelings. You have a lot of them. Tearing up during a TV commercial? Short temper? Lack of sleep weakens your ability to regulate your emotions. You may find yourself irritable, short-tempered, and particularly vulnerable to stress. Resist the urge to say something you’ll regret and literally sleep on it to beat the mental exhaustion.
4. You can’t quite seem to kick that cold. If you’re not getting enough quality sleep, you’re more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. And lack of sleep can also impact your recovery time. Your body does the vast majority of its healing while you’re asleep. We’re talking major immune system rejuvenation. Try getting more ZZZs to kick that cold.
5. You’ve read at least one sentence on this page twice. More than half of employees in the United States say lack of sleep impacts their performance at work. 61% to be exact. Trouble concentrating causes these individuals to be less efficient and to make more mistakes than well-rested individuals. We all get the same number of hours in the day. Make the most of yours.