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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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