When you don’t get enough sleep, life can feel a little off. Here are some warning signs that indicate you might need more sleep.
7 Signs of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep helps restore your mind and body to balanced health.
- You’re hungry all day: Studies show that sleep deprivation boosts appetite—especially for calorie-dense, high-carbohydrate foods. If you find yourself craving sugary snacks all day long, it might be because you’re not getting enough sleep.1, 2
- You can’t kick that cold: According to one study, if you sleep less than 7 hours a night, you’re nearly 3 times more likely to get a cold. Sleep can boost immunity, so if you’ve been feeling less than 100% for a while, you might need more sleep.3, 4
- You make bad decisions: Rather than making decisions based on avoiding loss, the sleep-deprived brain makes decisions based on pursuing gain. A lack of sleep can lead to risky decision-making, which often carries negative consequences.5
- You can’t read people: Having trouble connecting with people? You may need better sleep. Studies show that a lack of sleep can make it difficult to pick up on the facial emotions of others, leading to missed social cues and a feeling of alienation.6
- You’re less focused and more forgetful: You can say it’s because you’re stressed, overworked, busy, etc., but a lack of sleep could be the real issue. Not getting enough sleep can lead to lower concentration, difficulty learning, and impaired memory.7
- You’re emotionally on edge: While a good night's sleep helps to regulate your mood, sleep deprivation can do the opposite: it boosts the part of the brain tied to depression and anxiety. This can make it difficult to respond appropriately in emotional situations.8
- You’re having too many “close calls”: Maybe it’s a chronic case of clumsiness or you keep drifting from your lane while driving—these close calls might be due to sleep deprivation, which can negatively affect physical coordination and reaction time.9, 10
- “Sleep Loss Boosts Appetite, May Encourage Weight Gain.” UChicago Medicine, 6 Dec. 2004, www.uchospitals.edu/news/2004/20041206-sleep.html. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
- Levine, James A., and Rickey E. Carter. “Lack of Sleep May Increase Calorie Consumption.”National Sleep Foundation, sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/lack-sleep-may-increase-calorie-consumption. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
- Cohen, Sheldon, et al. Sleep Habits and Susceptibility to the Common Cold. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 12 Jan. 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2629403/. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
- “Not Sleeping? You May Catch a Cold.” Carnegie Mellon University, www.cmu.edu/homepage/health/2009/winter/not-sleeping.shtml. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
- Venkatraman, Vinod, et al. “Sleep Deprivation Biases the Neural Mechanisms Underlying Economic Preferences.” Journal of Neuroscience, Society for Neuroscience, 9 Mar. 2011, www.jneurosci.org/content/31/10/3712.full. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
- Beattie, Louise. “How Does Sleep Affect the Perception of Facial Emotion? | Sleep | Oxford Academic.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, academic.oup.com/sleep/article-abstract/41/4/zsy030/4922050?redirectedFrom=fulltext. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
- Alhola, Paula, and Päivi Polo-Kantola. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2656292/. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
- Anwar, Yasmin. “Sleep Loss Linked to Psychiatric Disorders.” UC Berkeley, Office of Public Affairs, UC Berkeley, 22 Oct. 2007, www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2007/10/22_sleeploss.shtml. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
- “Warning Signs.” Drowsy Driving Prevention Week by National Sleep Foundation, drowsydriving.org/about/warning-signs/. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
- “Sleep Deprivation Affects Eye-Steering Coordination When Driving.” ScienceDaily, 18 June 2007, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070611074133.htm. Retrieved June 20, 2018.