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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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