The importance of getting enough sleep on a regular basis can not be overstated. I wrote about how to incorporate good sleeping habits to help if you’re not sleeping well. But often it’s not until the cracks start to show that you realize you are sleep-deprived.
Lack of sleep raises a wide range of health issues. It can affect your ability to think, learn, remember, and function correctly. Which can be incredibly dangerous if you work in a job that requires attention.
So, without waiting for those warning signs, how much sleep should you be getting?
There is not magic number when it comes to hours. Everyone is slightly different and need different amounts of sleep. Factors such as age, lifestyle, and genetics also play a big part.
The average is between seven and nine hours a night for an adult. So a good place to start is to see how long you sleep for naturally, and it will likely fall between these numbers.
If you lack energy throughout the day and reply on stimulants like caffeine to keep you going, chances are you’re not getting enough sleep. This means you’re starving your body of it’s desire for rest.
5 Warning Signs That You Are Not Getting Enough Sleep
You Sleep in on the Weekends
It’s nice to sleep in on the weekends, and I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t do that on occasion. But if you have to sleep hours longer just to recharge from the week behind you there is something wrong.
Fluctuating sleep like this doesn’t balance out. You need a steady balance of sleep on a day-to-day basis, it’s not something that can be effectively caught up on with a binge.
You Rely on Your Alarm Clock to Wake up in the Morning
If you dread hearing the alarm clock and hit snooze to try and grab a few more minutes each morning, you’re sleep-deprived. Ideally you should be able to wake naturally without an alarm clock, but at the very least spring up when it goes off.
A lot of people have never experienced waking up naturally and with bundles of energy. It a great feeling, start going to bed slightly earlier each night until you find a balance
You Get Irritated and Run out of Patience Quickly
People who don’t get enough sleep and easily irritated and can fly off the handle over the smallest things. It’s really unpleasant to be around, and if this how you react when being tired you need to take action now.
It’s only a matter of time before you react badly to something and cause a larger problem due to the fallout.
You’re Forgetting Things and Not Concentrating
As I mentioned in the opening paragraphs, lack of sleep will have a negative effect on your mental state. There is some evidence to suggest it can cause mild brain damage over time, which is a scary thought.
You may feel fine, but if you’re forgetting things, mixing up facts, struggling to concentrate, or anything related to memory lapses, you’re in need of more sleep per night.
People Are Noticing You Don’t Look Your Best
Some people will be up-front and honest if you look a little red, or have puffy eyes. We often don’t notice it ourselves, especially if you’re not the kind of person to spend ages in front of the mirror.
If other people are noticing you’re not getting enough sleep it’s a pretty big warning. If you want to get back to looking your best, start getting that beauty sleep.
So What Should I Do If I’m Sleep Deprived?
For some it’s just as simple as going to bed a little earlier. But for most, it’s going to take some planning. The first thing is to set some ridged sleep habits in place.
Start training your mind and body to do the same things at bedtime so it all feel very natural and expected. Switch off those electric devices, and clear your mind of work and other worries.
Don’t eat a heavy meal before hitting the sack, this is one of the more common mistakes. Once you start sleeping better you will feel so much better you will wonder why you didn’t do this earlier.
Having a flow of natural energy throughout the day is great feeling.