You’ve surely read (on more than one occasion) that every person is unique and that we all have our own personal habits, diets, lifestyles, and many other differences that set us apart. You’ve probably also heard or read that each person needs a different amount of sleep to be fully rested and recharge their batteries. So, how can you know if you need to get more sleep, or if you’re already sleeping for the number of hours suggested for your age group, sex or daily amount of activity? Learn more in the following article.
Signs that you’re not getting enough sleep
Sleeping more (or better) can make the difference between a great day and a terrible one, between being in a good mood or one as awful as a thunderstorm, between being able to carry out all of your daily activities or leaving several unfinished… and many other things. Something as simple and essential as sleep can totally change your life. Sometimes, we don’t realize that we’re not sleeping enough, causing us to get sick or feel weak.
Pay attention to the signs your body is sending you, they are never wrong. Maybe you are suffering from insomnia or some other sleep syndrome, and you just haven’t realized it. It’s good to know if your sleep is really letting you rest, or if you are sleeping for enough hours per night. To figure that out, you need to be able to recognize the symptoms that will help you understand if you should be getting more sleep or not.
You’re hungry all the time
And we’re not talking about that time of the month for women, or when you get anxious or feel like eating something sweet. No, we’re talking about that feeling that, no matter what you eat, your stomach is always empty. This sensation could be caused by a lack of sleep, because sleep is responsible for balancing out certain hormones in the body, especially serotonin and dopamine, which undergo changes when you sleep.
People who don’t sleep very much have increased ghrelin production, a neurotransmitter that lets the brain know when it’s time to eat. Plus, if you stay up late at night, you’ll probably get hungry at some point or end up opening up the refrigerator. Your body will need carbohydrates to stay alert (because it doesn’t understand that it’s time to go to bed).
You can’t concentrate
Nutrition is crucial to keeping your memory and intelligence on point, but sleep is also important if you want to be able to concentrate, learn, remember and pay attention, among other activities. Just try understanding what your boss is saying on a Monday morning while your head is still on the pillow. It will definitely be hard for you. On the other hand, if you get enough sleep, you will not only be able to pay attention, but you’ll also find it easier to remember things, work on the task at hand and come up with good ideas.
During sleep, your brain takes that time to reconstruct your long-term memory. That’s why students should always sleep after studying instead of staying up all night. If you get to the exam and feel like you can’t remember any of the stuff you studied, it may be due to a lack of sleep.
You get sick often
Sleep is strongly related to your immune system. If you suffer from colds, the flu, phlegm or sore throats every month, or you feel like you never actually get over an illness like these (viral or bacterial), you may need to get more sleep. While you sleep, your body generates more defenses that protect you from sicknesses. Indeed, sleep has curing effects. That’s why, if you have a fever or feel ill, your body will demand that you sleep for several hours. If your body is not getting the sleep it needs, you will be less energetic, have lower blood pressure and your body will have a lower temperature. Strengthen your defenses by sleeping every night and taking more vitamins.
You can’t make decisions
Many people think that this problem has to do with self-esteem or self-confidence, but, while that may be true, as experts in Traditional Chinese Medicine claim, spirits living inside your liver allow you to be creative; in other words, they help you make decisions. These spirits come to the surface through our eyes during the day, and through our dreams at night. If you mistreat your liver by drinking alcohol and eating fatty foods, it will be hard for you to get a good night’s rest, meaning that those spirits won’t be able to work properly. You will slowly lose the ability to analyze situations and think clearly. Going beyond the metaphor or legend, it is definitely true that if you aren’t awake enough, you won’t be able to make good decisions.
Everything upsets you
Again, we shouldn’t always blame this factor on female hormones or excess work. A lack of sleep can put you in a bad mood. That’s probably why most people head to work with a long face instead of a happy one. Several studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can lead to emotional problems such as depression, irritability, mood swings, etc. Think about what happens with babies or small children. When they are tired, they won’t stop crying, and they’re really hard to handle. If you’re having one of those days where you’re fighting with everyone around you, it’s probably you. So, get a bit more sleep and see if your mood improves.
Your sex life is in trouble
A lack of sleep can cause your libido or sex drive to decrease. It can also cause sexual dysfunction in men. If you notice that you are having less sex than usual with your partner, or if you’re unable to find the desire to have a pleasureful night, you may want to try sleeping a bit more.