We all know how important a good night’s sleep is for our health. When we get enough (adults should be getting eight to nine hours a night) we know it’s a good thing. We look better, and most importantly, we feel better. Sleep depravity can affect our health in a myriad of ways. But how do we know when we’re not getting enough? Here are five signs that tell you it’s time to get some extra shuteye
You’re always irritable
We can all be a bit moody from time to time but if you’re feeling the strain from lack of sleep, you’ll be extra irritable. Sleep is hugely important to our mental and emotional health (the two are obviously interconnected), and according to statistics from the Harvard Medical School, even short-term, partial sleep loss can negatively affect mood, outlook, and the quality of our relationships. If you’re sleep-deprived, you’re more vulnerable to crankiness, irritability, and challenges coping with stress, according to the research.
You fall asleep during the day
This is never good, but if you’re feeling any sort of added tiredness during the hours you should be at your most productive, you know it’s time to hit the hay earlier. If you’re getting drowsy during the day, something isn’t right. And the symptoms can be from the smaller things to yawning your head off every five minutes or thinking you need a steady stream of coffee to prop yourself up during that meeting that may be a tad uninspiring. It’s the little signs like this, which should be treated as red flags, as your body is telling you it needs some extra rest.
You keep getting sick
If you keep getting colds that you can’t shake off, a lack of sleep could be linked to this. A study from The LA Times found that people who sleep fewer than seven hours each night have almost three times the risk of catching a cold than people who slept for at least eight hours. Getting sick is another way for your body to tell you that it might be time to take things a little easier, and if you’re sick, you get tired and vice versa. It can be very easy to get stuck in a cycle, so pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you.
Related: Here’s how ‘catching up’ on sleep will help you feel less exhausted
You won’t look your best
“Are you feeling sick?” will probably be a question you get asked a lot if you’re feeling exhausted. You’ll look pale, probably have harsh bags under your eyes (they’ll be red too) and you just won’t have the energy to bother when it comes to your beauty routine. It’s been proven too. According to a study from the Sleep Journal, the faces of sleep-deprived individuals were perceived as having hanging eyelids, redder eyes, swollen eyes, darker circles under the eyes, paler skin, more wrinkles/fine lines, and droopy corners of the mouth. So, it will literally show on your face if you’re too tired.
Your libido will drop
Fatigue can be an important factor when it comes to why both women and men aren’t in the mood for sex. In particular, for women, exhaustion from caring for young children or ageing parents can contribute to a low sex drive, according to The Mayo Clinic. We have such busy, hectic lives that this is bound to happen every now and again, but if it’s a constant thing, then it’s an issue. If you’ve been feeling like this recently, take time to get some rest. Both you (and your partner too) will feel much better for it.
If you’re feeling any of the above constantly, getting the few extra hours of sleep will definitely help. We would advise though that if you’re getting extra sleep and you find you’re not feeling any better, to get it seen to via a visit to your GP, just to be on the safe side. Sleeping won’t solve all your problems, but you’ll at least be able to handle those early starts a little better.
Main photograph: Pexels
Related: Having trouble sleeping during Covid-19? These 5 apps will help you nod off
Related: Why having a proper ‘bedtime’ as an adult is the key to a great night’s sleep
Related: Sleep deprivation and Menopause go hand in hand, here are tips to help you sleep.
It’s an exhausting cycle of fear, guilt and shame. The pandemic has seen my monster eating disorder return
The pandemic has deeply disrupted daily life across the world and exacerbated many mental health problems as a result. Here, Michelle Heffernan, writes honestly about her experience with disordered eating
Is a sleep divorce the key to a happy relationship? A relationship counsellor’s take on the ‘living apart together’ trend
When building a pillow wall isn’t good enough, sleeping apart...
Are you a parent to little ones? Here’s Kate O’Dowd...
Lisa spent her thirties undergoing relentless fertility treatments in an...
Our social media poll revealed what things, big and small,...
Trans writer Soula Emmanuel writes about her experience of becoming "ammunition in a culture war".
In a beautiful radio interview to mark Grief Awareness Week,...