Humans thrive on food, water, and sleep. Believe it or not, sleep is the most important factor when it comes to reaching optimum health. Sleep is vital because without it, our body functions begin to fail and this leads to a number of problems that affect both our physical and mental health.
On average, adults should be sleeping anywhere between 7 to 9 hours. Experts recommend establishing a sleep schedule and sticking to it in order to get the most out of these reparative hours. When we lose sleep, whether it’s due to insomnia, a demanding job, or other obligations, the hours begin to accumulate and affect our health. The following are commons symptoms of sleep deprivation:
- Hunger and cravings
- Mood swings, becoming overly emotional, and irritability
- Tired, dull looking skin
- Trouble focusing, making decisions, or thinking clearly
- Loss of memory
- Weight gain
- Lowered immune system response, getting sick often
- In extreme cases: paranoia and hallucinations
A lack of sleep can have negative consequences. People who do not sleep enough often suffer from issues relating to their immune system, mental health, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease, weight gain, and hormone production.
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of lack of sleep is the first step to taking better care of yourself and getting the proper amount of rest your body needs in order to function properly. While there are a number of reasons why someone may be sleep deprived, there are multiple ways to tackle the issue in order to find a solution that works for your individual needs. The following are some options to try that may help:
- Practicing good sleep hygiene by forming a routine and sticking to it
- Try relaxation techniques to reduce tension
- Limit stimulating activities (i.e. electronics use) prior to bedtime
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Medication, whether prescribed or over the counter
Sleep deprivation should be taken seriously. Not only does it affect your physical and mental well being, but it can also have negative consequences on others. Too many accidents caused by drowsiness occur every year, and these incidents can happen to anyone. If you feel you are sleep deprived, make sure to take the steps necessary in order to improve your sleep health. The good news is that the signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation are reversible and you will feel much better when your body is rested and repaired!