How did you sleep last night? Besides not remembering much, most of us consider a successful night’s sleep one that isn’t too terribly short or interrupted.
Sure, you could go out and splurge on one of those fancy new sleep monitors. But if you’re not getting a good, restful night’s sleep, your body is likely already sending you several signals. If you’re experiencing one of these common symptoms, it might be because you need a better night’s sleep.
1. You’re irritable and depressed
We all get cranky and irritable when we don’t get enough sleep, but the quality of sleep you’re getting is also a big factor in your overall mood. “Sleep abnormalities are a hallmark of depressive disorders, with many depressed patients experiencing insomia,” according to a New York Times depression guide. “Likewise, insomnia or other changes in waking and sleeping patterns can have significant effects on a person’s mood, and perhaps worsen or draw out an underlying depression.” So, if you’re being treated for depression or experiencing symptoms of depression, sleep quality could be a factor.
2. You’re accident-prone
One of the scariest long-term effects of poor sleep quality is something called “microsleep.” When this happens, almost like narcolepsy, you fall asleep for a few seconds at a time and it’s completely out of your control. Your body needs sleep and will get it however it can. Microsleeping could be the cause of those unexplained trips and falls and can become incredibly dangerous behind the wheel of a car.
3. You’re more aggressive or impulsive
Are you finding your road rage harder to control? Did you recently make a ridiculous large purchase? You might be surprised that impulsiveness and aggression are both totally exacerbated by a lack of restful sleep, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine and Institutes of Health. If you find yourself flipping out at the grocery store cashier for no reason, you might be suffering from the effects of poor sleep quality.
4. You’re forgetful
If you’re misplacing keys and forgetting the milk at the grocery store more often than usual, a lack of quality sleep might be the culprit. According to a Harvard study, people who don’t get good quality sleep not only experience short-term problems with focus and memory, but this could also be a long-term risk for dementia.
5. You’re packing on pounds
Turns out that extra jelly around the middle might have more to do with how well you’re sleeping than you thought. Poor sleep quality makes fat-producing hormones go crazy and makes you crave more fatty, high-calorie foods. In one study from the Mayo Clinic, women who got less than six hours of sleep a night were likely to gain 11 pounds more than another woman who got seven hours.
6. You’ve got high blood pressure
Along with weight gain, long-term poor sleep quality can raise your blood pressure — putting you at greater risk for both stroke and heart disease. If you’ve recently seen your blood pressure rise, you might want to talk to your doctor about boosting your sleep quality with medication or behavioral therapy.
7. You’ve got serious job burnout
Are you on the verge of a full-on “Take this job and shove it!” moment? Before you go out in a blaze of glory, consider that crummy sleep might be to blame—even though you might not really feel all that tired. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 30 percent of working Americans aren’t getting the good, restful sleep they need and it’s causing massive job burnout.
8. You’re looking older than you should
If you’re not getting enough rest at night, your skin is missing out on critical time to repair itself, leading to more fine lines and wrinkles, saggy skin and even age spots. A lack of restful sleep will also make your skin drier and keep you from recovering from sunburns as quickly as you should. Beauty sleep is real.
This post is brought to you by The Cleveland Clinic. For more sleep tips to help you Dream Big, go to dreambigmattress.com.