What do acne breakouts, weight gain, and confusion have in common? A lack of sleep, that’s what.
Sleeping is an essential bodily function, we all know this. But do you really know just how adversely your body can react to the lack of sleep?
If the yawning or nodding off at the wheel hasn’t clued you in already, here is a list of items that indicate sleep deprivation.
1. You crave for sweets
When you’re tired, ghrelin, the hunger hormone, increases. This causes you to crave more sugar and fat.
The hankering for something sweet is also due to the body’s attempts at raising levels of the feel-good hormone, serotonin. Consuming sugars triggers a serotonin release, which explains why you crave sweet stuff when tired and irritable.
2. You’re gaining weight
Sleep duration may be an important regulator of body weight and metabolism, affecting the levels of hormones in your body that play important roles in controlling appetite and satiety. Leptin levels increase during sleep. Leptin is a chemical that is involved in regulating appetite, metabolism, and calorie burning. It informs the brain that you are full, that you should start burning calories and create energy for the body to use. The brain knows that there is no need to trigger the feeling of hunger. When you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t get enough leptin, and the brain tells you you’re hungry even when you don’t actually need more food. Consequently, the excess food you consume will be stored as fat.
Leptin levels increase during sleep. Leptin is a chemical that is involved in regulating appetite, metabolism, and calorie burning. It informs the brain that you are full, that you should start burning calories and create energy for the body to use. The brain knows that there is no need to trigger the feeling of hunger. When you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t get enough leptin, and the brain tells you you’re hungry even when you don’t actually need more food. Consequently, the excess food you consume will be stored as fat.
3. You forget stuff easily
Research suggests that sleep plays an important role in memory and learning. Different stages of sleep are involved in the consolidation of different types of memories (make it stick) and being sleep deprived impairs one’s ability to focus and ultimately reduces one’s ability to learn efficiently.
4. You’re having trouble making decisions
Sleep deprivation can affect higher-level cognitive processing like problem-solving or time management. Research has shown that no matter how hard a person wants to make a right choice, sleep loss does something to the brain that simply prevents it from effectively using feedback. Sleep deprived persons can’t process feedback from their actions and changing circumstances.
5. You drop things
Are your motor skills not working like before? Things slipping through your fingers?
Your brain is required for the simplest of tasks, even physical ones like walking up the stairs successfully. When you’re exhausted, your brain can’t process the movements properly.
6. You’re getting emotional over the smallest things
If you find yourself crying at a movie scene that normally wouldn’t get to you, or having trouble reining in your temper, your lack of sleep might be to blame.
Studies show that sleep deprivation is linked to a disconnect in the part of the brain responsible for keeping emotions under control.
7. Your skin is breaking out
There are many short and long-term consequences of sleep deprivation related to your skin: swollen eyes, dark circles, and pale, dehydrated skin. Not so obvious consequences include impacts on wound healing, collagen growth, skin hydration, and skin texture. Inflammation of skin also increases, causing outbreaks of acne, eczema, and skin allergies. A decrease in collagen may result in wrinkles.
8. Your jeans are feeling tighter
If you’re chronically sleep-deprived and consuming more calorific foods, it’s likely that the fat is deposited around your middle. This is because your ability to respond to glucose load and release insulin is altered. Visceral fat deposition raises your risk of developing type II diabetes.
Weight gain, diabetes, flabby belly, acne breakouts. Is that episode of Game of Thrones really worth it? The next time you contemplate sacrificing an hour of sleep for the latest leaked episode, you might want to think twice. And perhaps it’s time to look into that irregular sleep cycle or bad sleeping habits of yours.
Cover photo: thegreatist