The signs of sleep deprivation may not always be clear. We pull ourselves out of bed in the morning, go about our day, fall into bed, sleep and do it all again the next day. If you’re anything like me 4 years ago, you don’t even think about your sleep or if you may be sleep deprived.
We assume because we sleep for around 7 hours a night then all is fine regardless of how we feel. But you might be more sleep-deprived than you think.
These are the signs of sleep deprivation;
How sleep deprivation makes you feel
Moodiness, fatigue, feeling low and lacking in motivation.
All these are influenced by how we feel. Falling asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow because you’re so tired is one sign of sleep deprivation. It takes around 10 to 20 minutes on average to fall asleep so if you’re out like a light this isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Falling asleep when travelling in the morning on the train may also be a way to know you’re not getting the sleep you need. If you’re tired whilst driving it really is important to prioritise your sleep and ensure you’re able to drive without endangering yourself or others.
Generally feeling tired and sluggish reduces our motivation to do much as we lack the energy to get ourselves going.
How sleep deprivation affects how you function
Day to day functioning can be a struggle when you’re sleep-deprived. Forgetfulness, being clumsy, finding it difficult to learn new concepts and an inability to focus can all be signs of sleep deprivation.
You may even feel fuzzyheaded and that mid-afternoon slump is more, ‘I need a nap’ than ‘I need a chocolate bar’. This adds to be being unable to focus and our mind begins to wander so tasks take longer than they should. It shouldn’t take a day to fill out a two-page report but if it does because you can’t concentrate then you may be sleep-deprived.
How your day to day is influenced
When we’re sleep-deprived not only can this have an impact on how we feel and how we function but also on or day to day living. If you find your appetite has increased or you’re struggling to stay fit, you’re craving carbs, you have a reduced sex drive and you always get a cold or get ill as soon as you slow down then you may be sleep-deprived.
I used to get tonsillitis every few months, every time I slowed down a little. I didn’t realise that it was down to my stress levels and how well I slept until I stopped traveling into London to work every day.
Now you know the signs of sleep deprivation what can you do to reduce them?
- Ensure your bedroom is a good environment for you to get the best sleep you can
- Have the same bedtime and waketime everyday
- Reduce the use of screens an hour or two before you go to bed and if you have a TV in your bedroom move it to another room.
- Make sure you’re hydrated and reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake around 3 hours before bedtime.
- Do some exercise, walking, yoga, boot camp, anything but not within 4 hours of going to bed
- Register for the digital SLEEP magazine, it’s FREE, to find more in-depth information about how you can sleep better.