Sleep deprivation can creep up on you. You may feel OK if you lose sleep for a few days but chronic sleep loss can catch up to you and begin to affect your life and productivity. It pays to know the signs of sleep deprivation and what you can do about it.
- Irritation. The slightest thing that wouldn’t usually even ruffle you may make you feel angry and cranky when you’re sleep deprived. It can be difficult to get along with your spouse, children and co-workers who aren’t doing anything wrong.
- Confusion. You can see and hear that someone is speaking to you, yet you have no idea what they are actually saying. Without enough rest, your brain simply can’t comprehend and make order out of what you hear. You may also find it challenging to understand written material.
- Overloaded. Just like little things can irritate you, little things can also spiral into seemingly big things that make you feeling overloaded and stressed. Your body needs sleep to restore your mind and reorganize information. A well-rested mind is one that can better handle stress and see solutions to overwhelming problems.
- Memory Problems. You may struggle to remember things that need to be done, things that people told you, things that you read or hear. You may have notes placed around your house, reminders set on your phone, emails sent to yourself. Those notes and reminders may not be necessary once you begin getting adequate sleep each night.
- Poor Concentration. Even if you manage to remember what you’ve read, you may struggle for much longer than usual to concentrate and comprehend the information. Focusing at work or school can also be difficult.
- Tiredness. Exhaustion shows up quickly when you lose sleep — and it can be dangerous. Working or driving when you are tired can lead you to make mistakes or fall asleep, causing accidents that can harm you or someone else.
- Overeating. Your body may crave simple carbs and caffeine when you are tired. The carbs can add up to extra pounds and the caffeine can mess up your sleep cycle when you do try to rest.
What You Can Do
Analyze your sleep routine and see if you can create a better sleeping environment and schedule to ensure that you get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. You should also take stock of your mattress and make sure that it is the best mattress for your needs and preferences.