10 warning signs you’re not getting enough sleep.

  1. You get drowsy while driving. Drowsiness is a precursor to a microsleep. A microsleep might last two seconds. But two seconds of inattention at 60 mph can send you into another lane or completely off the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 250,000 drivers fall asleep at the wheel every day. This causes more than 100,000 crashes, 1,550 deaths, and 40,000 injuries per year.
  2. You get sick frequently. According to the Mayo Clinic, a sleep deficit can compromise your immune system. And when your immune system is weakened, your body is unable to fight off disease.
  3. You’ve gained weight. A lack of sleep has been linked to an increase in body mass index (BMI). The culprits may be the hormones ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin signals to your brain it’s time to eat. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body makes more of it. Leptin, on the other hand, signals to your brain you’re full. When you don’t get enough sleep, your leptin levels decrease. Put them together, and what have you got? Excess poundage.
  4. You’ve become more forgetful. New research confirms deep sleep is critical for the creation of new synapses (connections) in the brain. And new synapses are necessary for memory formation.
  5. You’re prone to migraines. Insufficient REM sleep has been shown to affect key protein levels that suppress and trigger chronic pain.
  6. Your skin looks lousy. You’ve heard of “beauty sleep,” right? Well, it’s no myth. A recent study confirms inadequate sleep affects the skin’s ability to repair itself… and accelerates the visible signs of aging.
  7. You snore. You may suffer from sleep apnea. This is a serious disorder. Breathing actually stops and starts repeatedly during the night. Many people with sleep apnea are unaware they have it. Loud snoring is one symptom. Feeling tired after a full night’s sleep is another. See your doctor. Get tested. It could save your life.
  8. You’re cranky. Any little thing can set you off. Mood swings, depression, and anxiety go hand in hand with sleep deprivation.
  9. You feel stupid. Sleep deprivation affects your short- and long-term memory. It interferes with your decision-making ability. In fact, every cognitive function deteriorates when you don’t get enough sleep.
  10. You find yourself falling asleep unintentionally during the day. This is a pretty obvious indication of a serious sleep deficit.

Note: Consistent lack of sleep puts you at risk for diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. It also shortens your life expectancy. The most common worry keeping Americans up at night is money.

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