We all know how important to our health it is to get a good night’s sleep but sadly it often evades us.
It may be something temporary due to stress or illness and at menopause the increased anxiety and night time flushes or extra visits to the toilet can make it even harder to get your full quota.
You can put it down to simple fatigue but there may be other ways you can tell if your body is not getting the rest it needs.
If you’re not getting good sleep, your skin may soon show it. Some studies have found a link between a lack of sleep and acne, perhaps related to how sleep controls hormones in your body.
Sleep deprivation also hurts the immune system, leaving your body open to many different issues.
Your eyes show the strain
Redness, puffiness, dark circles, and bags are all signs that you’re not getting enough sleep. The sleep-deprived tend to get more wrinkles, lines, swelling, and droopiness, studies show.
Why? It may be that your body misses out on the hormone control and tissue repair that happens in deep sleep stages.
When you get a good night’s rest, your body can properly control ghrelin and leptin and those are the hormones that affect how hungry you feel.
Without them, you may feel the urge to eat more than you need, which can make you gain weight.
Junk food cravings
After a sleepless night, you may be more likely to pick that cheeseburger and fries over a salad for lunch. A sleep-deprived brain is more likely to crave unhealthy snacks and meals.
It may be that judgment and decision-making aren’t as sharp when you’re tired, which makes it easier for other desires to take over.
Not a huge surprise: If your usual 2 cups of coffee, or caffeinated colas or energy drinks, just aren’t cutting it, you may not be as rested as usual. Caffeine may seem like an answer to poor sleep, but it quickly can become part of the problem.
In the short term, the pick-me-up of coffee or soda may make you more alert, but in the long term, it can lead to insomnia or anxiety.
Irritability is a big sign of poor sleep. One study limited people to 4 1/2 hours of sleep a night for a week. The result: More stressed, angry, and mentally exhausted people.
They felt better when they returned to their normal schedules.
Depression and poor sleep are also closely related. Worse, they’re circular as depression can lead to poor sleep, and the reverse can happen, too.
Memory and focus issues
Even a little less sleep – losing just 2 hours if you usually snooze 8 hours a night – can make you groggy and affect concentration and memory.
This may make you less skilled at work or worse, behind the wheel of your car. More than one-third of people admit dozing off while driving.
Waking up with a sore throat, dry mouth, or headache could point to a medical reason you’re sleeping poorly such as sleep apnoea, snoring, or acid reflux, for example.
If you notice symptoms over and over, talk to your doctor. They can help you decide if medication or other treatment would help you.
Whatever the reason for your lack of sleep, most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night and a good night’s sleep repairs the body and mind, which helps you function at your best.
Make sure it’s restful sleep and that means sticking to a schedule, which means going to bed and waking up about the same time each day. A cool, quiet, and dark bedroom will also help.
Exercise may promote deeper sleep but if that’s not for you then meditation and relaxation can also help.
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