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Image / Self / Health & Wellness

Always craving more sleep? These 5 signs mean you’re not getting enough


By Jennifer McShane
21st Jan 2024

GETTY

Always craving more sleep? These 5 signs mean you’re not getting enough

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 shut-eye.

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.

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. The symptoms can range from smaller signs such as yawning your head off every five minutes to thinking you need a steady stream of coffee to prop yourself up during that meeting that may be a tad uninspiring. It’s little things like this which should be treated as red flags though – 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.

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 a few extra hours of sleep will definitely help but be sure to visit your GP if you’re getting extra sleep and you find you’re not feeling any better, 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.

This article was originally published in Jan 2021.