A behavioral cycle that exhausts you can be very difficult to notice sometimes.
Get up, work, eat, try to put together pieces of your social life, do chores around the house, be a good family member, get to sleep and get up again. Day after day. Sometimes it feels like you shouldn’t even dare to think about making some room for alone quality time, because the whole world seems like it will implode without you.
Do you feel like this often? If you’re anything like me, you probably take hours from your sleep in order to get everything done – guilt can really mess up your bedtime. Well, it’s mandatory that you need to start listening to your body and respect its needs. In order to officially self-diagnose sleep deprivation, take a look at this checklist and find out how much you’re neglecting yourself.
This is usually the first sign – being cranky or amused for no reason whatsoever. It’s like having a gentle version of bipolar disorder; you can go from laughing at a lame joke, and even surprising yourself that you found it funny, to the other extreme and feel agitated and vulnerable because you think someone said something mean.
This happens because a sleep deprived mind isn’t capable of having good judgement and makes a person who desperately needs sleep sensitive to a range of factors they usually wouldn’t blink at. So, have you recently said something like “it’s not what you said, it’s the way you said it” to someone who you don’t really have a personal bond with?
Puffy, Red and Worn-Out
Take a long, good look in the mirror. I don’t think there are a lot of people in the world who are fully satisfied with their reflection, but if you have dark circles around your eyes, your whole face has an interesting shade of red, looks puffy like as a result of an allergic reaction and your posture seems to belong to a seventy-two-year-old and not you, I think you can definitely do better.
Sure, you can put this issue under the rug and cover it with makeup or other anti-puffiness products, but your physical appearance will only get worse. It’s just your body’s way of notifying you that your insides are not that great either, and that you do need to go on a vacation so you can replace that redness with a nice bronze tan while allowing your eye cream for dark circles to become more effective.
Sure, we all have weird cravings every now and then and it’s completely understandable to indulge them, but you should do a scary thing and measure your weight. Also, try to remember your eating routine during the past week – a lot of snacks in between meals, perhaps?
While sleeping, your body charges its batteries so that you can be energized the next day and get stuff done. When you deprive yourself from this most basic need, your body will turn to other energy sources it finds familiar – food. This may work out for a couple of days, but a body that’s on low battery can’t have a fully functional digestive system, so your supplies will only increase and so will your weight.
Did you buy anything unreasonably expensive lately? Or did you make up with your ex and rebuild a toxic relationship? What I’m trying to ask is: have you done anything recently that made you think something like “why the hell did I do that” immediately after?
Sleep is crucial for the health of your brain. Each time you fall asleep, your mind goes through different stages and not only does it get its well-deserved rest, it also processes the information you gathered during the day. This enables a person to come to logical conclusions and make reasonable decisions. If that’s not something you have been doing lately, it’s definitely a sign of sleep deprivation.
Inability to Concentrate
Some work days are tougher than others – practically all of Monday is about getting your engine started, and Friday comes down to waiting for the clock to show that it’s finally time to go home and enjoy the weekend. However, there’s really no excuse for slacking off during the rest of your work week – well, at least not a good one.
When sleep deprived, your body is practically screaming at you to lie down on the first sofa you can find and close your eyes. You may learn to lower that volume and shut that voice down gradually, but it’s there, no matter how well you pretend it doesn’t exist. My point is that not a lot can be done when someone’s screaming at you, which is why your concentration levels are very close to zero when you’re sleep deprived.
Some people are clumsier than others – if you’re generally clumsy, I’m sure you’re very aware of it. If breaking dishes on a weekly basis isn’t a good enough sign for you, I’m sure that people around you will remind you of it by telling a funny story about you falling at the dinner table.
Whatever the case is, I’m sure you know your own physical capabilities and whether they have been a bit off lately. You should know that it’s not happening because you suddenly became uncoordinated, but because the performance of your motor skills is disturbed due to lack of sleep. A simple task such as crossing a street can be dangerous for you at this point, so you should pay special attention to your environment.
Passing Out in Bed
Everyone has their bedtime routine – you have some snacks, watch an episode or two of your favorite show, apply your nighttime beauty treatment, etc. I’m sure you as well know your favorite way to snug into your comfy bed and start counting sheep.
When was the last time you had an hour to prepare for bed and enjoy the whole process? People who suffer from sleep deprivation usually turn into a zombie when they see a bed and the second their head feels the fluffiness of a pillow, they pass out. Remind you of someone?
Refusing to Get Up
If you used to get up before your alarm even set off and woke up ready for the day ahead of you, with slight enthusiasm even, and now you just ignore all sounds around you and that snooze button became your best friend, it’s obvious that you need more sleep.
Yes, I absolutely agree that a bed can be irresistible and that getting up from a cloud in order to face social interactions doesn’t seem like it’s worth it, but I’m sure you’ve had some time to get used to the fact that you’re an adult. If getting up has started resembling battling your inner demons, your sleep deprivation is getting out of hand.
Goldfish Memory Span
Have you ever wondered why a goldfish never gets sick of swimming in circles in a round bowl, packs up their suitcase and leaves for Hawaii? Well, it’s because they are happy just the way they are – their memory span lasts only a few seconds. So, for them it’s not really swimming in circles, it’s actually exploring new worlds every few seconds.
Although this may not seem like a bad life, nature gave humans a lot more memory capacity. And if you have been resembling a goldfish lately and you constantly need to be reminded of pieces of information you heard that very same day, perhaps more than once, you need to give that boiling mind a good rest.
Day after day your body needs to fight off various bacteria or virus attacks and build new defense mechanisms to battle the fresh ones. Well, let me paint a picture for you – imagine soldiers in a fortress who haven’t slept for a week trying to fight off constant attacks of armies which are being renewed with stronger warriors.
If you want to be healthy, those fighters of your immune system need to be properly rested or there won’t be much they can do for your body. And you do need to be healthy if you want to lead a hectic life and accomplish enough stuff to be proud of.
I already mentioned in the introduction that you should look at this article as if it were a checklist. See how many signs of sleep deprivation you have out of the ten we listed above. Even if there’s only three of them, you should right some wrongs in your life and spend the whole day in a spa, after you’ve slept until noon. But keep in mind that only one day of rest won’t be able to make up for months of exhaustion – you’ll get much better results if you tweak your daily routine in a way that allows you enough time to sleep.
If you see yourself in even more than a couple of the behaviors and symptoms above, then you should be aware of the fact your lack of sleep has reached seriously alarming levels and that you’re actually endangering not only your skin’s health but your overall health. Sleep deprivation effects can be life threatening sometimes. I (and many experts worldwide) would sincerely advise you to start taking good care of yourself before you find yourself in need of serious therapy.