“Sleep is for the weak” may be a sentiment you chant when you’re working until midnight, but it’s incredibly false. Shut eye is as vital to human existence as food and water, and yet people aren’t getting nearly enough of it. The National Institute of Health suggests that adults should get seven to eight hours of sleep per night, but most Americans can only squeeze in six hours – and that’s on a good night. And although you may think you’re doing fine on a few hours of rest, odds are you’re showing signs that you aren’t getting enough sleep.
Now, there’s the obvious evidence that you’re tired – the dark circles that have made a home under you eyes and the coffee cup that’s permanently placed in your hands, just to name a few. But there are also the more subtle signs, such as a sudden shift in your mood or a lack of a sex drive. I know you’re a busy woman. You’ve got things to do, and 24 hours isn’t enough time to cross everything off your to-do list. But sleep deprivation is no joke. Whether you think you’re functioning or not, here are nine signs you aren’t getting enough sleep.
1. You Are Grouchy
Irritated that you spilled coffee down your shirt and you’re already late for work? Normal. Snapping at your toddler because she requested apple juice, at breakfast? You might be sleep-deprived. Even if you only missed a few hours, studies show that sleep loss has a huge impact on your mood and can cause you to feel aggravated, stressed, and angry throughout the day.
2. You Look Tired
The term beauty rest may sound like a joke, but it has a bigger impact than you think. Increased fatigue can make you look older by affecting your skin’s texture, glow, and lines. Not to mention a study at Stockholm University found that sleep deprivation leads to dark, unwanted circles and droopy mouth corners. Not a cute look if you ask me.
3. You’re Unproductive
Everyone has a day when they can’t seem to concentrate, but if you frequently lack focus, then your sleep habits may be to blame. A 2011 study from Harvard University found that insomnia cost the average U.S. worker 11.3 days in lost productivity every year. Keep your workload on track and get some sleep.
4. Your Libido Is Gone-O
“I’m tired” is an infamous excuse for turning down sex, but if you’re saying it more often than not (oh, and you really are tired), you definitely need to get some rest. A 2010 study found that one in four Americans living with someone or married were so sleep-deprived that they were too tired to have sex. Make sure you’re getting plenty of rest so you can get plenty of action in the bedroom.
5. You’re Not Interested In Much
We all enjoy a good couch and Netflix party, but if that’s the only way you spend your downtime then something may be wrong. Fatigue can fuel depression, which can often lead to a lack of motivation and loss of interest. Start catching some shut eye so you can boost your mood.
6. You Can’t Remember Anything
I don’t mean important things, like the lyrics to every N*SYNC song. I mean things like driving all the way to the store for a carton of eggs and winding up in the cereal aisle because you don’t know what you went there for. An article published by the Harvard Medical School notes that forgetfulness can be caused by sleep deprivation and can drive you absolutely bonkers. How about remembering to get enough sleep tonight, yeah?
7. You Feel Like You’ve Lost Your Mind
You just spent twenty-five minutes looking for your sunglasses and finally found them in the bathroom. . . because you caught your reflection in the mirror and saw them on top of your head. If you’re feeling extra absent-minded lately, your sleeplessness may be to blame. If you’re tired of putting the milk in the cabinet and the cereal in the fridge, try getting some more sleep at night.
8. Your Immune System Is Shot
Sicker than usual? Your immune system may be compromised by a lack of sleep. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, sleep deprivation has also been linked to more serious diseases, like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Sleep, like diet and exercise, is an important part of staying healthy, so be sure to make it part of your routine.
9. Your Clothes Feel Tighter
If your eating and exercising habits haven’t changed, yet you’ve put on a few pounds, your lack of sleep could be the cause. Studies have shown an association between sleep deprivation and lower levels of leptin, an appetite-suppressing hormone, along with higher levels of ghrelin, an appetite stimulant. Without proper sleep, you may be consuming extra calories even after eating a full meal. Lack of sleep can also make you crave foods high in sugar as your body looks for a quick boost of energy.