Recently, I’ve had one thing on my mind and that’s been sleep, or a lack there of. I have been feeling particularly sleep deprived lately. Not getting enough shut eye can have devastating effects on the body.

I’ve never been a disciplined person when it comes to sleep. I am a typical night owl. I stay up far too late pottering around the house, watching TV or checking social media etc. So when I finally do get my butt up to my bed its usually only after I fell asleep in front of the TV or my husband has literally marched me up to bed or I have work early the next morning so I have to get to bed early (by early, I mean 10pm). Other than these reasons, I would quite happily stay up all night (and I have! Many times!)

These are bad habits I have struggled for years to unlearn, the few times I have tried to go to bed early, my body is so used to getting 3-5 hours sleep I would often wake up and be wide awake at 1am in the morning.
If I just look at what I am feeling these past few days, its moodiness, tiredness all.the.time, struggling to concentrate for long periods of time and then there’s the one that is my personal favourite (no, not really!) – cravings for carbs and sweet things.

African woman slepping

Well, according to my initial research – I have all the classic symptoms of someone who is sleep deprived. I dug deeper because I wanted to know how this was further affecting my body…

1. Makes you moody: According to statistics from the Harvard Medical School, sleep and emotional health are linked. People with anxiety and depression are more likely to report chronic insomnia. Even short-term, partial sleep loss can negatively affect mood, outlook and the quality of our most important relationships.

2. Makes you indecisive: Chronic sleep deprivation can negatively affect our abilities to reason, focus and even find the right words to describe simple things.

3. Weight Gain: People who sleep less than six hours at night are more likely to be overweight—and show reduced levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin, along with elevated levels of hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin – hence the huge appetite for junk food. More recently, researchers have identified a strong connection between lack of sleep and increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, a metabolic disorder frequently triggered by overeating and obesity.

4. You’re not looking your best: Red, puffy eyes, dark under-eye circles, and turned-down corners of the mouth were all readily identified in sleep-deprived people participating in a recent Stockholm University study.

5. Your judgment is faltering: Accurately reading social situations and making good decisions both heavily depend on the brain’s capacity to process emotions. But when people are sleep deprived, the region of the brain involved with emotional processing, the prefrontal cortex, “basically goes to sleep,” according to Harvard Medical School sleep researcher William Killgore.

6. Your libido’s fading: Fatigue can be an important factor when it comes to why women aren’t in the mood for sex. In particular, women involved with caring for children and aging parents frequently report being too exhausted for intimacy at the end of the day, according to the Mayo Clinic.

7. You’re getting drowsy during the day: This one might seem fairly obvious—but feeling exhausted during the daytime hours is a big red flag that you aren’t clocking enough sleep at night. And the symptoms can be subtler than yawning every five minutes or needing an IV drip of coffee to prop yourself upright (think: nodding off during a boring meeting).

sleep at work

Make these changes: 
1. Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep

2. Switch off from social media earlier in the evening: Late-evening use of screens not only suppresses the normal rise in melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep.

3. Try and get in an afternoon nap: Newer experiments have shown that daytime naps may do as much good for memory processing as a full night’s sleep.

Happy Healthy Fabulous

Photography: Hemisha Bhana
: Stats News