6 Sneaky Ways Your Body Is Telling You It Needs More Sleep
In case you haven't heard, sleep is really important.
Research shows adults need a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night in order to to be happy, healthy, clear-thinking individuals.
Sadly, nearly a third of Americans are sleep-deprived.
We know what you're thinking. Life gets busy. You have a lot of work to do, TV to watch, friends to see and maybe even books to read. Plus, how will you ever meet all the guys you've been messaging on Tinder if you have to prioritize sleep?
We know what else you're thinking: You don't feel tired. You get five hours of sleep per night, and you're doing just fine. We hate to break it to you, but you're probably not doing as well as you think.
Here are six signs you're not getting enough sleep.
1. You can't stop snacking.
You know those days when you're inexplicably ravenous? Like, you could eat five bacon, egg and cheese bagels and two pints of Ben & Jerry's Half Baked for dessert?
OK, so maybe that's a little extreme. But your hunger could be an indication you need more sleep. A 2004 sleep study found the more sleep-deprived a person is, the hungrier he or she will be.
This is because sleep deprivation causes your body to produce more ghrelin, the hormone associated with hunger, and decreased levels of leptin, the hormone that makes us feel full or satiated.
So if every food that's supposed to make you feel fuller for longer just isn't doing the trick, you might want to make a date with your bed.
2. You're gaining weight.
We know this sounds pretty similar to our first point, but hear us out: If you've watched the numbers on the scale creep up over time, you might want to examine your sleep habits.
Not getting the recommended amount of sleep can lead to a lack of impulse control. So even though you're planning to eat salad for lunch and dinner, your exhaustion may send you to the vending machine for a pack of Peanut Butter M&M's before you can even think about it.
In addition to increased consumption of high-calorie and high-fat foods, not getting enough sleep is associated with decreased physical activity.
When you're tired, your willpower is worn down and your couch probably looks a lot more appealing than the gym.
3. You're picking fights with your boyfriend or girlfriend.
Realizing you're picking fights all the time isn't a proud relationship moment for anyone. But before you jump to "this will never last" conclusions, make sure you're sleeping enough.
Sleep deprivation makes us more emotional and irritable, which are both recipes for short fuses and fights. Plus, a 2013 study conducted out of UC Berkeley study found couples who don't get enough sleep have more frequent and serious fights.
Not to state the obvious or anything... But sleep is a lot less expensive than couple's counseling.
4. Your memory isn't great.
You locked yourself out again. You meant to call your mom, but it completely slipped your mind. Your boyfriend caught you totally off guard when he sent you a bouquet of flowers at work for the three-year anniversary you forgot about.
How creepy is that?
5. You're always sick.
If you're coming down with a cold every few weeks, don't be so quick to think your constant sniffling is out of your control. Research shows people who sleep less than seven hours per night are almost three times less likely to develop colds.
As Chris Winter, MD explained to Health.com,
If you're not sleeping properly there can be significant issues in terms of your body's ability to fight off infections.
You need to take care of that immune system, and the first step may be hitting the hay.
6. You're fidgety.
You're constantly tapping your foot and playing with your hair. You may think your little fidgets are harmless, and they very well may be.
In fact, fidgeting can even have some benefits. But this can also be a sign you're not sleeping enough. When you move your muscles, you're sending a message to your brain that says you need to stay alert.
Sleep expert Hans P.A. Van Dongen explained to Huffington Post,
[Fidgeting] could be your brain's way of trying to keep you awake.
Reading into that weird finger-tapping habit yet?