Being a new dad, I have realized the energy drain that comes when you don’t sleep properly. I say we’ve been fortunate in that Beckett is sleeping through the night for the most part, but we both still find ourselves awake in the middle of night quite often. I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night on and off for years so I can’t really say Beckett is the reason.
Either way, this disruption in sleep takes its toll on the body and I’ve started noticing it now more than ever. Here are five signs the body provides which could be attributed to lack of sleep.
1. Your Mind is Foggy
We experience so many things throughout the day. It’s like life hands us boxes of puzzles for us to put together. If we don’t have a model or system in our mind to put those pieces where they belong we’re just stuck with those random pieces at the end of the night. Well, a good night sleep helps put those puzzle pieces where they belong or at least reduce the confusion when those subjects come up again.
However, a poor night’s sleep just causes a reduction in alertness and concentration. We can’t recall certain subjects as well. When we are introduced to new things we can’t relate to them as quickly. Our brain just kind of moves in slow motion.
2. You’re Unhappy
When we sleep, we produce fresh neurotransmitters and regulate hormone production. If we’re not sleeping this gets all out of whack. We see more fluctuations in our mood and maybe even become more reactive to certain situations. Our stress levels increase which again impacts our emotions and mood. Lack of sleep also is a key contributor to depression.
3. You Get Sick a Lot
When we don’t sleep enough, T-cells go down and inflammation goes up which results in increased vulnerability to viruses and bacteria. I see this often in the office workaholic. They are putting in endless hours at the office and trying to meet their deadlines. That may be great for their career, but they look malnourished. They’re wiping their nose or coughing into their sleeve, but at least they finished those TPS reports?
4. You Struggle with Your Weight
The body knows when it’s not getting enough sleep so it prepares. This comes back to the fight or flight concept. The body realizes it’s not getting enough sleep so it stores more energy within the body to make up for the lack of sleep. Our body runs on the food we provide it and we don’t need as much energy to run our systems when we sleep. So if we don’t sleep as much and we’re awake more the body needs to have more fuel stored within it.
5. Your Workouts Feel too Hard
Our muscles don’t actually grow when we workout. They tear and get beat up. Then when we rest is when they mend themselves back together. If we’re not sleeping enough then our muscles aren’t recovering and so the next workout is going to be more difficult than it should be. This compounds on itself and then you’re just dragging through the workouts and having a miserable time. Over time this results in a lack of desire to even go to the gym and we all know we need some time of movement each day.
If sleep hasn't been a priority for you, I get it. Between my full-time job, blogging, coaching Crossfit, and working with my nutrition clients, I often find that prioritizing sleep falls to the wayside. I recognize that some days are harder than others but going forward, I'm going to do my best to make sleep the priority that it deserves so I can be my best for work, and most importantly, my family.
Want to learn how I plan to make sleep a priority? Read 7 Ways to Sleep Better at Night.
Goodnight and I’ll see you soon!