One of the downsides to our mobile gadgets is just how difficult they are to put down. We’re running our entire lives on these devices, so it does make sense that we’re constantly plugged in.
However, when darkness falls and its time to rest our understandably screen-fatigued eyes, many of us put off falling asleep by scrolling through social media pages, responding to WhatsApp messages or watching videos on YouTube. So we end up with too few hours of sleep, and find ourselves being rather unpleasant to be with when morning rolls around.
As the day progresses, we find ourselves blowing the slightest inconvenience out of proportion – we’re raging at drivers, pedestrians, children, spouses and customers. Because we’re not sleeping enough, we’re going through life tired and angry, and that combination doesn’t bode well for anyone.
Researchers at Iowa University, in a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, found that sleep deprivation amplifies negative emotions, including anxiety, anger, aggression and sadness, and reduces positive emotions like enthusiasm and happiness.
We don’t need to be told that we can’t build thriving businesses if all we’re courting is anger. So while you may be able to stay pleasant on six hours of sleep, while someone else needs at least eight to cage their inner monster, here’s how to know when your body is craving more Zs.
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1. Increased appetite
If you’re one of those people who eat breakfast at 7am, and then again at 9am and are still craving something fatty at 11am, you may be sleep deprived.
Research has found that a lack of sufficient rest increases your appetite, especially for foods rich in sugar, salt and fat. This is caused by the sleep-deficient body producing less of the hormone leptin, which lowers hunger, and more of the hormone ghrelin, which spikes hunger.
2. Need for social distance
If you’re suddenly feeling like everything is getting too close for comfort, and you just want to get away from everyone and everything, it may be time to catch up on your sleep.
Researchers from the University of California found that sleep deprivation can lead to you becoming more antisocial, reclusive and requiring more physical distance from the next person.
And since you don’t want to be around others and don’t have the social awareness to be gentle about it, you tend to become repulsive to be around, further increasing your isolation.
3. Constant sniffles
Sleep deprivation does a number on your immunity. So if you’re constantly fighting off a cold or sore throat or random aches and pains, it may be because your body isn’t producing enough cytokines, a protein that helps fight off infections and helps manage inflammation.
To sleep more, set up a regular bedtime routine that sees you put away your gadgets at least an hour before you hit the sheets.
And do something calming – like journal, take a shower or drink herbal tea to get your mind ready for bed.
Eventually, your body will take the hint and you’ll find yourself winding down more easily.