It’s no secret that many Americans are sleep deprived; in fact, according to the CDC it’s a full-blown public health problem. And with statistics that say almost a third of all American workers get less than the recommended amount of sleep, it is undoubtedly a big problem across the country. But the real question is, how can we know if we’re not getting enough sleep? Considering the recommended amount isn’t right for everyone, you may be better off examining how you feel. If any of the descriptions sound familiar, you might need to make sleep a bigger priority.
You’re Having Trouble Getting Things Done—Or You’re Making Mistakes
According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, “scientific research is revealing, for example, how sleep loss, and even poor-quality sleep, can lead to an increase in errors at the workplace, decreased productivity, and accidents.” If you forgot about that meeting or can’t seem to finish that project, it might be due to lack of sleep.
You Keep Getting Sick
Can’t seem to shake that pesky cold? Maybe it feels like you’ve been sick for most of the season. If you haven’t been sleeping enough, that could be a big contributor. Studies have shown those who don’t get enough sleep are significantly more likely to get sick.
Making Decisions is Harder Than Usual
Beyond the always-difficult question of what you should have for lunch, if you’re having trouble making decisions, especially when an unforeseen situation arises, it could mean you’re not getting enough shut-eye. According to research by the American Psychological Association, sleep deprivation “impairs decision making involving the unexpected” and is especially problematic for those dealing with “emergency situations.”
Your Normal Workout Seems Almost Impossible
If you find yourself struggling just 10 minutes into your typical workout, the issue could be sleep-related. According to a study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, those short on sleep perceive prolonged exercise to be significantly more difficult, despite no changes in heart rate or metabolic rate. So if you feel like quitting in the first mile of your run, more rest might be in order.
You’re in a Bad Mood
You’ve likely heard someone reference the mood changes following a poor night of sleep as “crankiness” and research backs this negative effect on mood. Several studies highlight sleep deprivation’s effects on both cognitive function and mood. So if you’re feeling a bit sour, it could be the lack of sleep bringing you down.
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