There are many reasons you may not be getting the sleep you need to effectively manage your daily life. Maybe you aren’t sleeping enough, or maybe the sleep you are getting is of poor quality. Maybe an underlying health condition is causing sleep issues, or maybe you have poor sleeping habits.
Whatever the root issue, it’s in your best interest to identify sleeping problems - sleep deprivation can contribute to health conditions including high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, and more. Identifying a sleep issue is the first step to getting a better night’s rest.
Here are five signs you aren’t getting adequate sleep.
- Chronic Tiredness
Of course, it seems obvious that feeling tired is an indicator that you aren’t getting enough sleep. But frequent tiredness can be attributed to other factors including a busy job, hectic family schedule, and more. Don’t neglect the obvious - if you aren’t getting the recommended hours of sleep, if the quality of your sleep is poor, or if you have a sleep condition like sleep apnea, your tiredness may be a direct result.
- Weight Gain or Food Cravings
During a good night’s sleep, your body controls the hormones that affect hunger. Without proper hormone regulation, you may feel cravings to overeat during the day, which can lead to weight gain. Sleep duration is associated with body mass index (BMI) and metabolism, so weight fluctuations or cravings may be a sign you aren’t sleeping well.
Not getting enough rest can have a dramatic effect on your mood. In the short term, one sleepless night can make you feel irritable, temperamental, and more stressed. In the long term, these issues can deepen and become chronic. What’s more, too much stress can cause a further disturbance of your sleeping patterns.
- Decreased Focus
Even a small decrease in the hours you sleep can affect your concentration and memory. Decreased focus can slow your reaction time, inhibit your ability to think critically or creatively, and leave you feeling easily confused. This can make it difficult to function at work, in school, and throughout your daily life.
Sleep deprivation can contribute to depression, as alterations in sleeping patterns and insomnia have been linked to a greater risk of developing depressive symptoms. Worse, it’s a vicious cycle - depression can negatively affect your ability to get a good night’s rest.
Depending on the nature of your sleeping issue, you may need to consult your doctor and get a referral to a sleep specialist. If your sleeping issues are minor and caused by bad habits, a few lifestyle adjustments may help you get back on the right track. Either way, identifying a problem is the first step toward improving your sleep.