Am I Getting Enough Sleep? Here’s How To Find Out
Sleep is one of the most important things you would ever do – considering about a third of your life is spent doing it! It’s how the body refreshes and restores itself so it makes sense that you get enough of it. Let’s talk about how much sleep you need and if you are actually getting enough.
How Much Sleep Should I be Getting?
Sleep is best when it is adequately balanced. This means you should not be getting too much or too little. The current recommendation for adults is 7-8 hours every night. However, some people are designed to run on less sleep (no less than 6 hours) or more sleep (no more than 9 hours).
The recommended length of sleep is NOT the length of time you are on the bed. It is the actual period your brain and body are asleep. When you are awake in bed or trying to fall asleep, your body isn’t actually getting the benefits of sleep. So counting the number of hours you spend in bed, really doesn’t count as sleep.
Let’s say you go to bed at 10 p.m., but you don’t fall asleep until 2.45 a.m. Then you wake up to pee at 4 a.m. but couldn’t get back to sleep until 5.15 a.m. The alarm then wakes you up at 6.30 a.m. because you have to beat the traffic getting to work. You were in bed for eight and a half hours but you effectively got only 3 hours of sleep. That is definitely not enough sleep.
Sometimes it’s not as obvious as that example. You may think you are asleep most of the night but due to some conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea, your sleep may be poor. But before we conclude that you have a condition that keeps you from sleeping well, let’s first determine if you have the signs of poor sleep.
How Will I Know If I Am Not Getting Enough Sleep?
When you don’t get enough sleep it begins to show in your body. This is because sleep helps the body ‘reset’ and take on the challenges of the next day. Here are some things to watch out for if you suspect you may not be getting enough ZZZs.
This is a pretty obvious sign that you may not be getting enough sleep. If you don’t sleep well at night, then your body would try to sleep in the day. If you notice you are consistently sleepy in the daytime or are regularly taking afternoon naps, then you may not be getting enough sleep at night.
Loss Of Concentration
Although this may also be a symptom of other conditions like clinical depression, lack of sleep is a known cause of poor concentration. Sleep is when the brain stores information from the day, leaving room for new information to be obtained the next day.
Think of the brain like a computer. You transfer information from your PC to your external hard drive to create room in your PC. If you don’t transfer your data and your PC gets too full, it gets slow. The same thing happens to your brain. If it gets too full and can’t transfer data to its ‘hard drive’, it gets slow. This translates into you losing concentration.
When the body isn’t well rested through sleep, it gets tired. It’s not just the regular kind of tiredness where you can explain why you are tired. The tiredness is usually undue – it’s the kind that makes you wonder “what in the world’s name did I do today”?
If you feel this way, it may be that you aren’t getting enough sleep. Fatigue, however, is a symptom associated with lots of illnesses. If you feel fatigue, please see your doctor.
Do you feel like you are persistently irritated? Are you tempted to bite off the head of anyone who even breathes the same air as you? Do the things that shouldn’t normally get you upset, get you upset? If so, you may not be getting enough sleep.
Needing a ‘Pick Me Up’ in the morning with coffee or energy drinks to be able to function in the day is a sign that you may not be getting enough sleep. Please note that drinking coffee every morning out of habit doesn’t necessarily mean that you have poor sleep. The important bit here is that you need it to wake up.
You Don’t Look So Good
I’m pretty sure the reason Disney’s Snow White was the ‘fairest of them all’ was because she was asleep for so long! Basically, sleep makes you look good! Your skin gets a healthy glow because your whole body is well rested and everything is functioning well. If you don’t sleep so well, your skin begins to look sallow and dull.
Loss Of Libido
Sex is a pretty energy consuming activity. If your body isn’t getting the sleep it needs, it’s not going to use the little energy it has stored up on sex. It would rather catch up on sleep, and when it’s been rejuvenated, then, you could begin to feel frisky. Please be advised that loss of libido can also be due to certain medical conditions and medication. If you experience this and are getting enough sleep, please see your doctor.
How Do I Make Sure I Get Enough Sleep?
- Practice good sleep hygiene.
- Observe yourself for a lack of the signs of poor sleep above. Then continue what you are doing!
- Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol just before sleep.
- Let a trusted friend or family member watch as you sleep. They should watch for snoring, repeated awakenings, tossing, sleepwalking or sleep talking. This may indicate a need for further investigation by a sleep specialist.
- Sleep comfortably, use items like a good mattress, a comfortable pillow, and a warm sheet to induce and maintain a refreshing sleep.
- Take the sleepiness test here to see if you are getting enough and make adjustments in your sleep habits.
Getting enough sleep is important for your health, so, my friend, get that beauty sleep! If you would like more information on sleep apnea, snoring or other sleep issues, check out out blog.
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