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.
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.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.