12 Signs of Sleep Deprivation, According to Experts

Sleep Deprivation

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to sleep. Perhaps your sleep deprivation is harming your physical and mental well-being.

What is sleep deprivation?

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to tell when you’re overtired. You’re undoubtedly tired, weak, and unable to accomplish anything.

Your dark bags under your eyes may seem more apparent, and your desire for sweets may be greater than it has ever been.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) states that sleep deprivation, a condition that occurs when you don’t get enough sleep, is a common cause of these symptoms—but they aren’t the only ones. Experts break down the symptoms of sleep deprivation into twelve distinct categories.

1. You’re always peckish.

As a result of sleep deprivation, the brain will frequently turn to food for the energy it lacks, says Dr. Chris Winter, the owner of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine in Virginia, in an interview with Health.

Insufficient sleep may increase ghrelin synthesis, better known as the hunger hormone (although its functions span well beyond regulating hunger). Dr. Winter claims that excess ghrelin causes your body to seek fatty and sugary meals.

It was also shown that only one night of sleep deprivation caused an immediate rise in the ghrelin levels of nine “normal-weight, healthy guys” who were part of this research. The hormone of fullness, leptin, may also be affected by a lack of quality Sleep.

Dr. Winter explains that when you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t get the signals it needs to tell you to stop eating.

Sleep Deprivation

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2. You’ve put on a few pounds.

When sleep deprivation causes an increase in hunger, it also causes weight gain. According to Dr. Winter, fatigued people are more likely to eat whatever they want since they ignore their food intake.

Awakening is something that you seek in a variety of different ways.

It is impossible to avoid overindulging in fried and sugary meals when your hunger hormones are out of balance so that you will gain weight quickly.

According to Dr. Winter, a person’s metabolism slows down when they don’t get enough sleep.

If you don’t get enough sleep, your fat cells’ capacity to react to insulin, the hormone that regulates energy, is reduced by 30 percent, according to a 2012 research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.


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03. You’re more impulsive than before.

Gail Saltz, MD, Health’s contributing psychology editor, explains that people tend to behave without thinking when they’re weary. Your capacity to say, “No, I don’t want another candy bar,” gets increasingly difficult.

In addition to eating more, you may also find yourself doing or saying things you don’t mean, such as lashing out at your spouse or going out on a tirade at work about someone you don’t like.

As Kelly Baron, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist with specialized expertise in behavioral sleep medicine, tells Health, “the essential thing is you’re less inhibited.”

To put it another way, research reveals that sleep deprivation increases your impulsivity to harmful stimuli, resulting in an immediate reaction to the circumstance or information in front of you.

Studying the effects of sleep deprivation on impulsive behavior in men and women was the focus of a 2007 research published in Physiology & Behavior.

A lack of sleep has been linked to an increased risk of impulse control issues and a decreased ability to think clearly and make decisions.

Sleep-deprived women’s risk-taking behavior dropped, whereas sleep-deprived men’s risk-taking behavior stayed the same.

Sleep Deprivation

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04. You’ve lost a piece of yourself.

A parent who warned their children against staying up late before tests understood precisely what they talked about. There is strong evidence that sleep deprivation negatively affects memory.

A block in protein synthesis occurs in the brain’s hippocampal region when someone is overtired, and this region is responsible for memory, learning, and emotions.

Oxidative stress (a balance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body) is a result of sleep deprivation, according to a study published in Behavioural Brain Research in 2012.

According to these researchers, the antioxidant Vitamin E was shown to mitigate the memory-damaging effects of sleep deprivation (also referred to as chronic sleep deprivation-induced cognitive impairment).

Getting enough sleep is essential to improving your memory.


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05. You have problems making choices

Sleep deprivation may be to blame if you’ve struggled to keep up with tasks at work and home.

According to Baron, “sleep deprivation may decrease speed and higher-level cognitive processes. As a result, basic tasks like problem-solving and time management are more challenging.

If you’ve ever wondered how sleep deprivation affects your ability to make rapid decisions, a 2009 research in sleep provides a good example.

The accuracy of individuals who didn’t get enough sleep decreased by 2.4 percent, while those who did get enough sleep increased by 4.3 percent. Sleep deprivation directly impacts your capacity to respond swiftly and clearly.

Sleep Deprivation

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06. Your motor abilities are out of whack.

You may get clumsy if you trip over your own feet. However, if you do it a few times a day, it may simply be a sign that you’re too exhausted to concentrate on your destination.

Chronic sleep deprivation has been shown to impair motor learning and memory, according to a National Institutes of Health research from 2014. If you’re feeling groggy, Dr. Winter adds, “you’re going to notice that your brain isn’t working as well as it normally does.”

Movement becomes more complicated when one’s response speed and focus are slowed. While walking up and down the stairs, Dr. Winter believes much processing is taking place. It’s impossible to think clearly when you’re sleep-deprived.


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07. Your feelings are all over the map.

When you’re sleep-deprived, it’s easy to lose control of your emotions. According to Baron, “you become over-reactive to emotional cues.

A sad movie or a tight job deadline, for example, that wouldn’t typically get under your skin might now trigger feelings of melancholy or rage. The converse might also occur: “People can feel slap-happy and giddy as well,” Baron explains.).

The lack of enough sleep also impairs one’s emotional intelligence and cognitive flexibility, as shown in a 2008 research published in Sleep Medicine. As a result, you’re less able to communicate your feelings, regulate them, or even recognize them.


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08. You’re always ill.

Your immune system might also be affected by a lack of sleep. Dr. Winter believes that if you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system may be unable to fight off diseases.

You may find it more challenging to recover from a cold. Over 14 days in 2009, researchers at Johns Hopkins University tracked the sleeping patterns of 153 individuals.

Getting a cold is roughly three times higher for persons who sleep fewer than seven hours a night than for those who get at least eight hours of sleep.

Sleep deprivation may weaken your body’s ability to fight against infections and inflammation by producing proteins called cytokines, which your immune system creates while you’re asleep.


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09. You have vision issues

The eye muscles can’t be controlled as effectively when you’re tired, explains Berkley, Mich.-based ophthalmologist Steven Shannon, MD.

To begin with, a lack of sleep wears down the ciliary muscle, which is responsible for focusing your eyes. Consequently, he claims that reading at close range will be more difficult.

The ciliary muscle may also be affected by light. In a 1999 NIH research, near-sightedness was strongly linked to children who slept with the light on. Modern blue-light technologies, such as televisions, laptops, and mobile phones, may cause poor sleep.

Also, the additional ocular muscle moves the eye from one side of the face to the other. When someone is well-rested, their eyes can compensate for muscular imbalances that cause poor eye tracking, according to Dr. Shanbom.

The misalignment is more challenging to manage when you are Sleep-deprived, which might lead to double vision.

After a single night of insufficient sleep, you may notice both of these eyesight impairments, but they will continue to worsen the less time you spend in bed.


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10. Your skin isn’t nice

If you don’t take care of your skin, your face is one of the first areas to reflect your age. Preventative measures include a well-balanced diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, using sunscreen, and obtaining a good night’s sleep.

According to research published in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology in 2014, people who sleep poorly have more trans-epidermal water loss, which accelerates the aging process of their skin.

As a result, excellent sleepers had 30 percent more skin barrier healing and a higher opinion of their look and attractiveness than bad sleepers.

If you don’t get a whole night of sleep, you’ll seem more tired, dermatologist Flora Kim, MD, FAAD of Flora Kim Dermatology, tells Health, noting dark under-eye bags, drooping eyelids, wrinkled or fine lines, droopy corners of the mouth, and paler complexion as some of the side effects.

Sleep deprivation, according to her, may also cause occasional breakouts of acne because it disrupts the circadian rhythm, causing a sudden shift in your biology that upsets the equilibrium of your skin.

Acne may occur as a side effect of sleep deprivation, which can be alleviated by consuming more coffee and smoking.

Dermatologist and associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Dr. Debra Jaliman, explains to Health that your body generates collagen while you sleep.

“Sleep aids in the regeneration of the skin,” she explains. “During this time, cells renew, and DNA repair is accelerated.”


11. You suspect the driver’s drowsiness

It’s termed micro-sleep if you fall asleep for only a few seconds without realizing it. “There is a message from the brain that says, “I don’t care what your plans are. ‘It’s time for bed,’ I said.

“In Dr. Winter’s words: Taking a nap is your body telling you that you need to catch some shut-eye. There is a significant issue with micro-sleep, especially if you’re driving.

Drunken driving was a factor in at least one in five fatal collisions between 2005 and 2009, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Take a break and get some shut-eye if you’re feeling too drowsy to be behind the wheel.


12. You’re not developing.

Successful development is directly linked to a healthy amount of sleep due to their fast development in the first several years. This pattern extends throughout infancy and adolescence, according to research.

According to the Nursing Management magazine, children between the ages of 5 and 10 need 10 to 11 hours of sleep every night, while adolescents between the ages of 10 and 17 require 8 to 9 hours.

Doctor Jaliman explains, “The human growth hormone (HGH) comes in when we sleep, responsible for speeding up skin healing and cell renewal.

Grown-hormone concentrations rise considerably during sleep, according to research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2009.

Sleep deprivation reduces your body’s amount of growth hormones, resulting in slowed growth and development. Get plenty of sleep if you want to give your growth plates the best possible opportunity.


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