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Signs That Sleep Deprivation is Affecting Your Life

Signs That Sleep Deprivation is Affecting Your Life

Counting sheep not helping you? The bags under your eyes becoming designer? It’s about time you find out if sleep deprivation is affecting your life.

Any doctor will tell you that getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night is the best way to feel well-rested. Coincidentally, it’s also the right amount of sleep for keeping your body running healthily. So, what happens if you aren’t getting your eight hours in nightly? How is that affecting your body? And, more importantly, is it affecting your life?

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Below are a list of symptoms that could mean you are suffering from sleep deprivation and how it’s affecting your life in a BIG way.

1. You struggle with a normal workday

We all feel the lag when the clock hits three, but when you are sleep deprived, 11:30am feels like 11:30pm. If you find it hard to get through a 9-5 day without over-caffeinating or taking it easy, you are likely sleep deprived. Your body needs rest, so it’s finding it during the day instead of at night. This affects work performance and interpersonal relationships, which is a big part of your life.

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2. You drink more than one cup of coffee

Drinking too much caffeine can cause your body  to experience an overload of anxiety. When you’re tired, a stop at the coffee shop around the corner is necessary. If this is happening more than once a day, chances are your body is becoming hyperactive from too much caffeine exposure, which can cause your body to become oversensitive and over-think, which can then make work and home anxiety overbearing.

3. You get into more arguments/fights

Lack of sleep can make a person irritable. When you’re irritable, you’re more likely to get into an argument over something stupid. This irritability is usually prevented from feeling well-rested, but when you don’t have that rest your body feels off, causing a short temper and increased annoyance. If you find yourself arguing over vegetables with your spouse, or disagreeing with a coworker continually, it’s probably from not catching enough ZZZs the night before.

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4. You are constantly worried

As said in #2, over-caffeination causes anxiety. When you’re anxious, you worry. Sleep helps your body relax and makes each day feel like a do-over. When you don’t sleep, your body doesn’t have a “fresh day” to start off with. Therefore, your worries pile up and build into one big worry that makes your life feel terrible. All of this worry can lead to increased signs of aging (yikes!) and can lower your immune system. If you’re feeling this, you need sleep. Badly!

5. You gain weight

One of the worst parts of sleep deprivation is weight gain. Your body metabolizes food, using energy, and fuels your body for the day. Because your body has no energy from not sleeping the night before, it requires more food to get you through the day. In turn, this is going to show in the long run as you keep piling more and more calories into your body just to get you to the end of the work day. That burrito from Chipotle sounds really good when you’re exhausted at lunch time, but your waistline will not thank you a few weeks from now.

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6. You have a cold

Sleep is part of what keeps your immune system strong to fight off pathogens (those little buggers that get you sick). So, what happens when you don’t sleep? All of those germs infest in your body and cause colds, flus, and other nasty illnesses. Increased number of illnesses (like having three colds a year instead of one) can mean that you’re suffering from sleep deprivation – and using up all your sick days.

Featured photo credit: Health Com U via healthcomu.com

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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