5 Subtle Signs You Need More Sleep That Aren't As Obvious As Yawning A Million Times A Day
You'd think it'd be easy to spot some of the signs that you aren't getting enough sleep, right? The yawning, the severe caffeine dependency, the falling asleep while standing up on the bus (is that one just me?). The truth is, though, there are other, more subtle signs you need more sleep; they're just not as in-your-face as dark circles or a long, drawn-out yawn. Not to pull a mom card and tell you that you should be GETTING TO BED EARLIER, DEAR, but for real, if you notice a couple of these signs in your own life, then girl, you should probably look into it a little more.
And look, even if you won't listen to me, you'll probably listen to what an expert has to say: "The importance of a good night's sleep cannot be overstated," Dr. Benjamin Smarr, National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley and Reverie sleep advisory board member, tells Elite Daily. "Sleep is a critical biological process that your brain and body need to grow, clear out toxins, and get reset for the next day."
If you're ready to get your sleep schedule back on track, just make sure that you stick to a regular routine. "Sleeping [in] eight-hour blocks at any random time of day will not allow your body to recover as well as if that sleep comes at the same time each day," Dr. Smarr explains.
Here are five signs that might mean you need to prioritize your snooze time a bit more.
You keep spacing out
Personally, whenever I get less than about seven hours of sleep, I become as easily distracted as a puppy. And apparently, that's not just a "me" thing; according to Matthew Ross, co-owner and COO of the mattress review company Slumber Yard, one sign that might mean you aren't spending enough time snoozing is that every time you sit down or stand still, you tend to just kind of space out, and, you know, act really out of it.
"For example," Ross tells Elite Daily over email, "at work, is it taking you three minutes to respond to an email that really should have only taken 30 seconds?"
You tear up easily
Are those ASPCA commercials sending you into sob mode more than usual? In a study published in the scientific journal Current Biology, researchers split 26 healthy young adults into two groups, one of which they told to get a normal night's sleep, while the other was instructed to stay awake for 35 hours straight. The next day, all of the participants were shown a series of disturbing images.
According to a National Institutes of Health press release about the research, study author Dr. Matthew Walker of the University of California, Berkeley, said in a statement that brain scans of the participants showed that "the emotional centers of the brain were over 60% more reactive under conditions of sleep deprivation than in subjects who had obtained a normal night of sleep."
In other words, when your body needs more sleep, you might be more likely to be spooked by a super scary movie or moved by a real tear-jerker. Ugh.
You're irritable AF
It's getting colder and colder outside, and becoming more like Scrooge every day may just seem like the natural progression of things, but if it seems like every little thing is getting on your nerves, you might just be sleep-deprived, says Dr. Smarr.
And that morning cup of coffee? While it might make you a little more cheerful, it's really only masking the problem, says Smarr, so make sure you're getting plenty of rest.
You can't shake a cold
If you've been sipping lemon ginger tea for days and you still can't kick some nasty congestion, then you might want to take a second look at your sleep schedule. A study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that people who sleep less than seven hours a night may be more likely to develop a cold than those who clock in at least eight hours of snooze time.
You're extra hungry
"If the brain is not getting the energy it needs from sleep it will often try to get it from food," Chris Winter, M.D., owner of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine, told Health. "When you're not sleeping properly you tend to eat more of what you're craving because you're not feeling the signals to stop eating."
So grab some bedtime-friendly foods to snack on, put on your comfiest PJs, and snooze the night away, friend.