10 Surprising Signs You're Sleep-Deprived
By Rachel Grumman Bender
Photo by YouBeauty
You may boast that you’re already asleep before your head even hits the pillow, but if you’re conking out that quickly, here’s your wake-up call: That’s a clear sign of sleep deprivation. And that’s just one of the warning signs that you need to get more shut-eye.
With the help of Shelby Freedman Harris, YouBeauty Sleep Expert and director of Behavioral Sleep Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, we’ve rounded up the top 10 signs that you are shortchanging yourself on sleep. If any of these sound familiar, it’s time to start making sleep more of a priority. It is, after all, as essential to your well-being as food and water. And it comes with a slew of health and beauty benefits to boot, from a trimmer waistline to looking more attractive.
Related: What’s Your Sleep Score?
1. You fall asleep immediately. You might chalk this up to being a good sleeper, but the opposite is true. If you routinely fall asleep within five minutes of lying down, you probably have severe sleep deprivation, possibly even a sleep disorder, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
2. You’re more impulsive than usual. Grabbed a donut at the morning meeting when you normally wouldn’t touch it? Splurged on that expensive top you’ve been eyeing online? A lack of sleep may be to blame. “The prefrontal cortex is greatly affected by sleep deprivation,” explains Harris. “This area is associated with judgment, impulse control, visual association and attention. Less sleep leads to poorer judgment and acting impulsively, e.g. poor eating when sleep deprived, buying things without thinking about the consequences, irritability and mood issues with others.”
3. You’re relying on clichés. If you find yourself throwing around phrases like, “Beggars can’t be choosers” and “Better safe than sorry,” and you’re not currently in retirement, it may be time to take a nap. “The frontal lobe is associated with speech, constructive thinking and novel thinking/creativity and is greatly impacted by sleep deprivation,” notes Harris. “Sleep deprived people find it difficult to have spontaneous complicated speech, leading to more slurring, use of clichéd phrases, stuttering and monotone speech.”