6 Sneaky Signs You Might Be Sleep Deprived

Heavy lids and yawning aren’t the only signs that you need more time in the sack. Take note of these clues that you need to bump up your snooze time.

Your appetite has increased

Recent research suggests that being sleep deprived may affect ghrelin, a hormone that tells you that you’re hungry, and leptin, a hormone that signals that you are full. “Typically, they are balanced, but sleep deprivation may throw off this ratio with more ghrelin to leptin,” says Fitbit sleep advisor Allison T. Siebern, PhD, consulting assistant professor at Stanford University Sleep Medicine Center and director of the Sleep Health Integrative Program at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center in North Carolina.

You’re craving carbs

Not sleeping enough has been linked to eating an unhealthy diet. Recent research suggests that areas of the brain related to decision-making and judgment are not as active when you’re sleep deprived as parts of the brain which tell us to go for what we want. In other words, you may choose the chips and chocolate over fruits and veggies if you need to catch more Z’s.

Your workouts are weak

Being sleep deprived can zap your energy and motivation to get physical. It can also interfere with your body’s ability to recover and repair since certain stages of sleep are needed to do this work.

You’re sniffling and sneezing

Your immune system is the army inside your body that defends you when you’re exposed to anything that can make you sick. But, “sleep deprivation can disrupt the immune system,” says Michael Grandner, PhD, MTR, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. This means you don’t have the same strength to keep the bugs and germs at bay.

You’re cranky

Feeling irritable or down can be a sign of sleep deprivation because you don’t have enough energy, but also because sleep deprivation disrupts your ability to regulate your emotions.

You’re craving caffeine

If you find yourself reaching for an extra cup of java, or making an additional run to the corner café, “this may be a signal of not getting enough sleep,” says Siebern. Think about why you want that extra cup and if it’s to stay alert.

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16 CommentsLeave a comment

  • This is very helpful! I work third shift and i find it extremely difficult to sleep during the day sometimes. These symptoms definitely help me to notice that i am sleep deprived i just need to follow the symptoms my body is telling me!

  • I love my Fitbit. I have been using it to track my sleep. Mine has stopped giving me the exact times that I am awake and restless. I really liked that feature. Is it on any other tracker or can you bring it back?

    • I bought an Alta HR to track sleep while my Surge (not Surge 2) is in charge for daytime use.

      This new generation of HR enabled sleep trackers, fantastic. I was immediately able to correlate my wake up mood, day time tiredness, and blood pressure to how much time in deep sleep. For me that seems more important than total time or time in any other phase of sleep.

      Next step of course is to find out how to influence that quality of sleep. Fitbit can only give the data, leading to questions, but you have to figure out the answer. Nevertheless if like me you suspect you have a sleep deprivation issue, I would strongly endorse trying out the new generation of HR enabled trackers.

    • Hi Laurel, I love that too and it is there – you just need to click on the graph to expand and hold your finger down at the start and then slide your finger across the graph – it will show you the times – it is not as easy to use as before but at least you can still see it 🙂 Hope this helps!

    • Join Fitbit community and email support on this issue, I had an issue with mine that’s the path I took with fantastic outcomes.

    • I feel you. my sleep average is between 5 and 6 hours only causing my blood pressure to go high. Not sure how to improve it

      • Before I got my charge 2, I didn’t
        know how poorly I slept. I really
        thought if I went to bed at midnight, and woke up @ 8am,
        I got 8 hrs of sleep. Wrong! My
        Fitbit showed I was “awake” 1 1/2
        hrs a night, had very little R.E.M. or deep sleep. This past year my
        memory and cognitive ability was
        deteriorating. My BP was unstable. I then began to have
        insomnia, ( bed @ 3am). A sleep
        study showed I have moderate
        sleep apnea, and need a device
        to correct this. I will be getting one soon. I would have never
        known I was seriously sleep
        deprived had I not seen on the
        graph how little deep sleep I was
        getting. Have your Dr prescribe
        a sleep study.

  • A great article – thanks Michelle! i especially liked the in depth explanation about the chemical imbalances and triggers for food. A weight watcher lecturer tried to explain it once but it was a little uniformed. As for me,I tick all the boxes of what you mentioned were sleep deprivation. I suffer depression and crave sweet foods and need to work on my weight. The Fitbit has been a really useful tool for me. My only problem is I have two young kids that wake me at all hours and it’s impossible to get a decent sleep. I am trying to fix that to fix myself.
    Thanks Michelle and Fitbit!

  • ihave 5hours average sleep reach for coffee
    wont say no to chocolate.fit bit advanced setting i changed to normal setting,as sensitive setting takes half my sleep away ,Ifeel happier now,

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