You know you’re supposed to get seven to nine hours of sleep a night, but sometimes, you stay up for a night out on the town, to finish a project at work, or even just to surf the ‘net.
In our seemingly always-on society, there’s great temptation to skimp on sleep, but sleep is extremely important to our physical and mental wellbeing.
Though you may think your five-hours-a-night habit is nothing to worry about, but chronic sleep deprivation has been tied to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression
Here are 5 signs that you should start heading to bed a little earlier….
- You’re always hungry – if the brain is not getting the energy it needs from sleep it will often try to get it from food. People who sleep fewer than six hours at night are more likely to be overweight—and show reduced levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin, along with elevated levels of hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin—the large-scale, long-running Wisconsin Sleep Cohort study showed for the first time in 2004.
- Your productivity and performance are slipping. – Chronic sleep deprivation can negatively affect our abilities to reason, focus, and even find the right words to describe simple things. Often we believe it’s absolutely essential to stay up late finishing up work projects or preparing for presentations. But, it turns out, stopping work in time to wind down and get a good night’s sleep is generally the best way to improve productivity and performance overall.
- You’re having trouble making decisions – If you’ve been finding it harder than usual to manage projects at work and home, lack of sleep could be the culprit. When people are sleep deprived, the region of the brain involved with emotional processing, the prefrontal cortex, “basically goes to sleep,” according to Harvard Medical School sleep researcher William Killgore.
- You aren’t looking your best – Red, puffy eyes, dark under-eye circles, and turned-down corners of the mouth were all readily identified in sleep-deprived people participating in a Stockholm University study. Even small amounts of sleep deprivation can affect your appearance.
- You get sick often – If you’re not sleeping properly there can be significant issues in terms of your body’s ability to fight off infections. A 2009 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine followed the sleeping habits of 153 volunteers for 14 days straight. Researchers found that people who got less than seven hours of sleep were nearly three times as likely to develop a cold than those who got eight hours or more rest a night.