We live in a world where ‘moving forward’ can literally be translated as ‘cutting back on sleep and working longer hours’. It comes as no surprise that more and more of us are sleep deprived. Sadly, we don’t see the signs unless it is too late!
How often have you worked till 10pm in the night, only to reach home and find that you are still unable to drift off to peaceful sleep even though you are dog tired? For all of you who find yourselves sleeping on your desk at work, building on sleep debt is not the sure shot way to move forward in your career. It has some serious health repercussions, which you are better off without. So if you are having muddled thoughts and forgot to lock your car last night, you are not sick – you are sleep deprived! Read on to know the most common signs of sleep deprivation to see if that’s what you’re dealing with:
1. You cannot handle stress
If you are the kind of person who always works best when under stress, you will see the signs right away. Are you suddenly bitchier to your husband, or snapping at your mom only because she is insisting you eat dinner before you hit the bed? If so, you are probably sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation hinders our capacity to deal with every day aggravations – be it loud meetings, terrible traffic jams or just interpersonal relationships. If you are short on sleep, even stopping at a grocery store on your way home from work seems like a gargantuan task, not a simple every day chore. You can thank lack of sleep for lowering your threshold of stress perception, making even routine activities seem stressful.
2. You seem to forget everything
If your memory isn’t as sharp as it usually is, it is time to analyze if you are getting enough sleep. The lesser you sleep, the lesser your nerve cells connect with each other. And in moments when you need to depend on your ultra sharp memory, you will find that all you have is muddled thoughts that cannot be captured. REM sleep forms and retains memories and that why putting in those extra hours to impress your boss may be a recipe for disaster if your job requires you to depend on your memory. There is no point in cramming up more reports and figures, if you are not going to remember a thing you read the previous evening!
3. You cannot seem to concentrate
If you have been sitting through long meetings just faking interest, while your mind simply wanders, it may be a sign you need more sleep. And No, your daily dose of coffee is not the solution. It can only fix the problem temporarily. You cannot regain your full concentration levels unless you get the much needed sleep you have been cutting down upon.
4. You feel hungrier
Now this one is a bummer, but a sure shot sign. If you find craving for food late at night more often, and seem to be gaining weight, it is time to cut back on work and make more room for sleep in your daily routine. According to a study done at University of Chicago Medical Center, lack of sleep increases the hormones that signal your body to eat more, while drastically reducing hormones that tell your body when your hunger is satiated. So if you want to retain your figure, you better go to bed on time!
5. You have vision problems
If you find that you are suddenly more accident prone and seem to be bumping a lot in to stationary objects, it isn’t your bad luck! It is lack of sleep! You put in an all-nighter and next day you have blurred vision, where the world is fuzzy and all shapes distorted. This increases chances of accidents and mishaps, and we really think it is better to leave work on time and continue the next day rather than having an accident on your way home! You agree, right?
6. You cannot make snap decisions
According to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2011, you have more chances of making high risk decisions when you are sleep deprived. Since your brain’s prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for judgement and decision making, is under stress from lack of sleep, you find yourself taking more risks than necessary. And definitely regretting it when you come to your senses!
7. You have poor motor skills
Now when you have gone for days without adequate sleep, you will find your motor skills are hampered. You might want to say something but find you cannot speak without slurring your words, or you might even find it hard to tie your own shoes! A study by The Franklin Institute revealed that a person who has gone for 24 hours without sleep is as muddled in thoughts as someone who is drunk! Your reaction time is slower, which means you are nothing but a disaster about to explode! We suggest that when you see this sign; you take off from work and get a cab to drop you home so that you can get to bed immediately!
8. You have abnormal mood swings
If you aren’t PMS-ing, but still find your mood swings are rocking your world, there is a high chance you are short on sleep. According to a study done by The Franklin Institute, children who slept lesser than 10 hours a day have 255 more chances to misbehave and get in to trouble. And no, this isn’t restricted to kids; adults are pretty much the same! So if you find that everything seems to be irritating you without having a logical reason for it, it is time you get more sleep.
- The waking dead: Dangers of sleep deprivation [infographic] (holykaw.alltop.com)
- Depriving Deprivation (whoatethedaisies.wordpress.com)