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5 Crazy & Weird Things That Happen When You Don’t Sleep Enough

5 Crazy & Weird Things That Happen When You Don’t Sleep Enough

A shortage of shut-eye can leave you feeling tired, cranky, hungry, and irritable. But it turns out, a lack of sleep can affect you in a lot of ways that go beyond triggering those basic feelings. And that’s a problem, since 53 percent of Americans are snoozing less than the recommended seven hours each night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. So what can a shortage of shut-eye cause? Only some of the crazy effects that follow.

1.  You get yourself into trouble at work

It annoys you when John makes an unusually long grunt when he yawns and stretches at his desk even when you’re well rested.  It’s no wonder you feel like strangling him when he does this when you haven’t gotten enough sleep; you get incredibly irritable on the job.  Everything takes you over the edge, and you’re ready to snap at anyone who rubs you the wrong way.  Moreover, research shows that you’re more likely to engage in deviant behavior at work compared to your well-rested co-workers.  The reason? Being sleep deprived drains glucose in the pre-frontal cortex of your brain. Basically, running on minimal sleep robs the fuel from the self-control center of the brain. This leads to an impaired ability to self regulate your actions at work. Unethical work behavior like falsifying recipes, stealing from the workplace, working slow on purpose, and gossiping about other co-workers are things you leave yourself vulnerable to when you don’t get enough shut-eye.

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2. Slowly, you get depressed

Chronic lack of sleep can lead you down a path to depression. The relationship between sleep and depressive illness is complex – depression may cause sleep problems and sleep problems may cause or contribute to depressive disorder. However,  lack of sleep or the inability to fall asleep is a red flag for depression. When sleep is disrupted or frequently inadequate it increases tension, irritability, fatigue, less exercise, and a lower level of vitality and fitness. This lends itself to depression. In fact,  in a 2007 study of 10,000 people, those with insomnia were five times as likely to develop depression as those without.

3. You overeat and get fat

You still eat the same way you ate 5 years ago when you were lean and trim.  Now, none of your jeans fit.  What happened? Lack of sleep affects your hunger and appetite hormones ghrelin and leptin.  Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.  More ghrelin plus less leptin equals weight gain.  Referring back to your ability to regulate your actions and behavior (see number 1), it’s no wonder that people who lack sufficient sleep snack more, make poor food decisions, and overeat.  Virend Somers, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, conducted a study that showed people who slept 80 minutes less a night on average, overate about 550 calories the following day.

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4. You’re a risk behind the wheel

Lack of sleep and fatigue are responsible for some of the most recent disasters: the 1986 nuclear meltdown at Cherynbol, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island.  But further investigation of the impact of fatigue and sleepiness show that this is a real problem in our everyday lives.  In particular, behind the wheel while driving a vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration  estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. These figures probably don’t account for all “drowsy driving” incidents since it’s difficult to detect. The glaring cause of this risk is the cognitive impairment similarities between sleep deprivation and alcohol intoxication. Cognitive impairment after approximately 18 hours awake is similar to that of someone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%. After about 24 hours awake, impairment is equivalent to a BAC of 0.10%, higher than the legal limit in all states.

5. Your testosterone dips

For men who are constantly fatigued, have little sexual drive, and a dwindling vitality for life low testosterone could be the issue.  What is often overlooked as the cause however, is adequate sleep.  A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported the effect of one week of sleep restriction in young healthy men. The 10 men who were studied, were only allowed 5 hours of sleep a night.  The study demonstrated that their testosterone levels dipped by 10-15%.  This is largely due to the fact that testosterone production is replenished during rest.

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3 simple tips to get more restful sleep

Avoid caffeine. Tea, coffee, soda and energy drinks can keep you awake for up to 12 hours.  Caffeine has a sneaky half life that lingers hours after you consume it.  If you take 200mg of caffeine at 12 noon, 10omg of caffeine lingers in your system for up 4-6 hours depending on your sensitivity.  Instead, when your mid-afternoon slump hits, try an energizing snack like nuts or yogurt.

Nest. Make your bed as comfortable as possible. Keep your sleep environment dark, cool and work-free.

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Find  a sleep schedule . About an hour before bedtime, start a nightly relaxation routine that can include reading, taking a bath or anything else that soothes you. Complete all exercise at least three hours before bedtime. Don’t look at screens before you go to sleep, which can stimulate your brain.

Featured photo credit: http://www.bigstockphoto.com/search/?contributor=evgeny%20atamanenko via bigstockphoto.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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