Sleep is important for our bodies to function at their best. When we do not get enough sleep, we put our body on over-drive to function. This makes our body work harder, and over time, symptoms set in. Initially we may feel wired or anxious with inadequate sleep, then comes the cognitive decline, and eventually we are exhausted.
Here is a list of symptoms that suggest that you could use more sleep:
- The obvious – feeling tired and sleepy, yawning frequently, requiring naps to function well, needing to pull over in your car to sleep, etc.
- You’re always hungry. The same area in the brain that control sleep controls hunger. When the body does not get enough sleep, the brain sends signals to increase hunger to make up for the lost sleep.
- You’re gaining weight. As with hunger, metabolism is also controlled by the same area in the brain. When you don’t get enough sleep, cortisol (our stress hormone) increases and our bodies do not respond to insulin as well. Then add in the likely hood to choose poor food choices under these circumstances and the result is weight gain.
- Irritability, short tempered and/or frustrated easily. Our ability to handle stressful situations reduces when we do not get enough sleep and leads to inadequate responses. This may be experienced as lashing out at someone you care about over something that could have been dealt with in a more appropriate fashion.
- You’re experiencing memory decline, decreased performance or alertness. Brain health requires good sleep. When we sleep, our brain undergoes processes that help restore cognitive function.
- You avoid places that require you sustain attention such as movies, plays, parties, seminars, etc. When we are tired, our body has a difficult time coping with additional noise, keeping our attention on something, and we tend to drift and experience the inability to stay focused on a something.
- Difficulty with making decisions. This goes along with the previous statement that good cognitive function requires sleep. It also happens because of adrenal gland fatigue due to the stress from not sleeping well causing a decline in the ability to handle a stressful situation or make a decision.
- Feeling clumsy. Over time, inadequate sleep will affect how our body functions when we move. If you feel you trip, drop things, or bump into corners of walls a few times a day, this may be because you’re not getting enough sleep.
- You’re feeling ill more than a few times a year. Inadequate sleep can make us feel unwell during the day in general but can also lead to a weakening of the immune system, making us more apt to experience frequent illnesses. It can also affect recovery time, causing illnesses to take longer to resolve.
- Your skin is not looking as good as it typically does. While we sleep, our body repairs skin. If we don’t get enough sleep, our skin will show it… so off you go to get your “beauty sleep”
Our bodies function at their best with at least 8 hours of sleep per night. So if you get less than that and experience any of these symptoms, it might be why. So stay tuned for next weeks’ post on 10 ways to improve sleep!
If you suffer from insomnia and are interested in natural ways to improve your sleep, please contact me. I offer a complimentary 10 minute consult to answer questions you may have about how my services may be beneficial for your health concerns and I would be happy to talk with you.