Are you suffering from sleep deprivation? Sleep expert reveals signs

Jasmine Lee of New York-based EveryNight Mattresses has revealed the five signs you might be experiencing if you're suffering from sleep deprivation (stock image)

A sleep expert has revealed five signs you may be suffering from sleep deprivation, including cravings for takeaway and weight gain.

New York-based Jasmine Lee of EveryNight Mattresses says sleep deprivation is much more common than you might think.

Sleep deprivation happens when you don’t get enough sleep consistently over time, for example, because you go to bed too late.

And according to sleep psychologist and writer, repeatedly losing sleep can become a threat to our mental and physical health.

Jasmine Lee of New York-based EveryNight Mattresses has revealed the five signs you might be experiencing if you’re suffering from sleep deprivation (stock image)

Short-term effects of not getting enough sleep include feeling grumpy and struggling to concentrate throughout the day.

According to Jasmine Lee, the long-term effects can be much more serious, with sleep deprivation linked to multiple health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

Therefore, sleep is fundamental to a healthier lifestyle.

What are some signs that I’m sleep deprived?

1. Looking forward to takeaway food

If you have a sudden urge to enjoy a takeaway or junk food, it could be a symptom of sleep deprivation.

Lack of sleep alters hormones that regulate appetite, as well as metabolism and brain function.

Therefore, we are much more likely to turn to junk food due to cravings for calories, sugars, fats and salty snacks as a result, as a way to boost our energy levels.

How much sleep do I need to avoid sleep deprivation?

  • Newborns (0 to three months): Between 14 and 17 hours of sleep
  • Children (from four to 11 months): Between 12 and 15 hours of sleep
  • Children (one to two years): 11 to 14 hours of sleep
  • Preschool (three to five years): 10 to 13 hours of sleep
  • Children (aged six to 13): nine to 11 hours of sleep
  • Adolescents (14 to 17 years): eight to 10 hours of sleep
  • Adults (18 to 64 years): seven to nine hours of sleep
  • Older adults (65 and older): seven to eight hours of sleep

2. Overheating

Sleep is vital for our body to regulate our internal temperature, says Jasmine.

So, if you are hot, your body may be overheated due to a constant lack of good quality sleep.

In fact, as we get more and more tired, our brain starts to overheat and yawning is a method of compensating for this thermoregulatory failure.

3. Little memory

Sleep deprivation can affect the brain’s ability to learn and remember information.

During rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the brain is active, processing information and storing memories from the previous day.

Less sleep disrupts this process because the body spends less time in this REM cycle.

The next day you may have trouble remembering what was said in a business meeting or what tasks you have.

Sleep deprivation also makes it harder for the brain to absorb new information, as the brain is working hard to focus and take in information.

Not only is your ability to remember affected, but your motor skills suffer as well, as the brain’s ability to store memory also includes motor skills and physical reflexes.

This is another reason why a high percentage of traffic accidents occur due to sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprived drivers have a slower reaction time. Poor motor skills can also be problematic if you play sports with less sleep; you may have difficulty executing a specific movement or maneuver, preventing you from performing at your best.

The long-term effects of sleep deprivation have been linked to health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, so sleep is critical to a healthier lifestyle.

The long-term effects of sleep deprivation have been linked to health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, so sleep is critical to a healthier lifestyle.

4. Weight gain

Less sleep causes changes in hormone levels that regulate appetite. Leptin lets the body know when it is full, while ghrelin signals hunger.

Lack of sleep produces less leptin and more ghrelin, which means you’ll be hungrier, but your body will react more slowly when you’re full, and you’ll likely end up eating more than you need.

In addition, studies have found that sleep deprivation can lead to increased cortisol levels.

Cortisol is a stress hormone responsible for storing energy (sugars and fats) for later use. More stress means your body retains more fat.

Your insulin levels are also affected. With higher cortisol production, your body is less sensitive to insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that transforms food into energy. Your body has a harder time processing fats in your bloodstream when it becomes less sensitive to insulin. These fats end up being stored in the body, resulting in weight gain.

Getting too little sleep can also affect your diet, with studies showing that less sleep leads to more junk food.

You’re more likely to have intense cravings for foods high in fat and sugar, such as chips and ice cream, and you’re also more likely to give in to those cravings.

Studies show that sleep loss is linked to making risky decisions.  You become more impulsive and less likely to consider the loss, focusing only on the reward

Studies show that sleep loss is linked to making risky decisions. You become more impulsive and less likely to consider the loss, focusing only on the reward

5. Bad decision making

Studies have shown that sleep loss can be linked to making riskier decisions, finding that people can become more impulsive when sleep deprived.

Scientists have used gaming tasks to assess how 24 hours of sleep deprivation can affect decision making, when making poor decisions could lead to a lost outcome.

Researchers have found that during these tasks, people with sleep difficulties are more likely to choose higher-risk fights and show less concern about possible negative consequences compared to well-rested people, who learn to avoid high-risk fights risk as the game progresses.

A 2007 study published in the journal SLEEP used fMRI imaging technology to observe what happens in the brain when sleep-deprived people make these high-risk decisions under experimental conditions.

The scientists found that an area of ​​the brain involved in reward anticipation, called the nucleus accumbens, “became more active when high-risk payoff decisions were made under sleep-deprived conditions.”

In addition, the loss response was reduced in a part of the brain that evaluates the emotional significance of an event (the insula).

This builds on previous findings that when sleep deprived, people are more likely to overestimate the potential rewards of risky behavior, while underestimating the potential negative consequences.

To learn more about sleep deprivation and how to combat it, visit: www.eachnight.com.

HOW CAN I GET BETTER SLEEP?

If you want to improve your sleep hygiene and make sure you’re getting enough Zzzzs, you can try incorporating these tips into your routine.

  1. Establish a sleep schedule

Setting a bedtime may sound childish, but it actually works. A set bedtime and wake-up time makes it easier to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning.

Your body will adjust to the rhythm, so when it’s time to go to sleep, you may automatically start to feel drowsy.

It is also important to keep this schedule on weekends. Bodies respond positively to these consistent rhythms.

It can be tempting to sleep for a few hours, but this can throw your body off. Plus, if you’re getting the right amount of sleep, you probably won’t need that extra time.

Setting a bedtime may sound childish, but it actually works. A set bedtime and wake-up time makes it easier to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning

2. Avoid heavy meals

There may be some truth to the “eat dinner like a pauper” philosophy.

Avoiding heavy meals and snacks can improve sleep.

Heavy meals take longer to digest. When it’s time to go to bed, your body may be focused on digestion, making it harder to fall asleep.

The best time to eat dinner is between 6pm and 6:30pm, allowing your body time to digest the food.

3. Keep your bedroom dark

Your body’s sleep-wake cycle is influenced by melatonin. Your body is continuously producing melatonin.

However, production is lower during the day and stronger at night. This is because melatonin is largely secreted at night, in response to darkness.

Keeping your room dark induces sleep. Any exposure to light could lower melatonin levels and make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Alternatively, if you can’t darken your bedroom, a sleep mask can be effective.

4. Avoid your phone or laptop

We’ve all been there: you climb into bed and start scrolling through your phone, checking messages and browsing social media.

This may sound like a relaxing activity to help you sleep, but it’s the exact opposite.

When you use any electronic device (TV, tablet, computer or smartphone), you are exposing yourself to blue light.

Blue light tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime, stopping melatonin production and making it harder to fall asleep.

Try to avoid any electronic devices for an hour or two before going to bed. If you need to scroll on your phone, use night settings or apps that filter out blue light.

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