Getting enough sleep is vital for your health, allowing for physical and mental rejuvenation. Sleep quality and quantity has a significant impact on the time you spend awake.
A regular good nights’ sleep helps you to feel energetic and alert, allowing you to thrive in all aspects of life.
Alternatively, sleep deprivation can result in poor work performance, mood problems and ill health.
A study reported in Sleep looked at the cumulative effect of poor sleep on a range of work related tasks.
A total of 48 healthy young adults were randomly selected to spend 4, 6 or 8 hours in bed each night for 14 consecutive days.
Those in the 4 and 6 hour sleep groups had significant performance deficits in cognitive tasks compared to subjects who had 8 hours sleep.
Sleep deprivation negatively impacted on working memory, behavioural alertness, cognitive accuracy and speed in tasks such as addition and subtraction.
What was interesting to note was that chronically sleep deprived subjects were not experiencing sleepiness. While their performance levels were declining, the participants in the 4 and 6 hour groups reported only feeling slightly sleepy.
The researchers felt this may help explain why sleep restriction is so widely practiced- because people feel they are coping OK when they don't feel particularly sleepy.
6 signs you aren't getting enough sleep
Because a lack of sleep can have such a strong impact on your physical and mental output, it helps to know the warning signs. Here are 6 indicators that you may not be getting enough ZZZs
1. You don't spend 8 hours in bed
As the study above shows, failing to spend at least 8 hours in bed each night is associated with reduced cognitive function. If you need an alarm clock to wake up, you're probably not getting enough sleep.
Solution - Make sleep a priority by going to bed at least 8 hours before you need to get up.
2. You snore
Snoring restricts the flow of air and deprives the body of oxygen, making you feel tired, irritable and fatigued. Over the long-term, chronic snoring can result in more severe health problems.
Solution - To prevent excess fat narrowing your airways, exercise regularly. Physical activity can also make you feel physically tired, which makes it easier to fall asleep at night.
3. You drink coffee before bed time
Caffeine is a stimulant that winds you up. Drinking tea or coffee within a few hours of going to bed may interfere with deep sleep.
Solution - Drink a glass of warm milk or a herbal tea instead.
4. You drink alcohol before bed time
Drinking alcohol within an hour or two of going to bed might seem to make you sleepy. But it may increase the likelihood that your snore, or have poor quality sleep.
Solution - Try a supplement formulated with herbal medicines that help to support a more restful and sound sleep.
5. You get Mondayitis
Changing your sleep habits on the weekend such as staying up late or sleeping in can induce mild jet lag like symptoms on a Monday morning.
Solution - Don't go to bed too late on a Friday or Saturday night, and avoid sleeping in too late on a Saturday or Sunday morning.
6. You need an afternoon nap
While it's not uncommon to feel a little sluggish in the afternoon, daytime naps can make it harder for you to sleep well that night.
Solution - Unless you're chronically sleep deprived or a shift worker, avoid anything longer than a 10 - 20 minute nap.
References available on request