Every once in a while, you might have to pull an all-nighter on a project or stay out later than you meant to and know you traded sleep for a little fun. That’s fine, but if you have a repeated pattern of sleep-deprivation and it’s beginning to affect your life, it’s time for a wake-up call. If the following symptoms sound familiar, and you know you haven’t been sleeping, you probably should change something.
When you do sleep, it’s a marathon
You push the limits all week, then sleep until five PM on the weekend. You get up and feel like going back to bed. It’s never enough because you’re always playing catchup, but catching up doesn’t really cover the gap.
You feel on the verge of an emotional breakdown – constantly
Either you want to explode, cry, curl up on the floor and stare woodenly at the wall, or some combination of those. Emotions can be seriously affected by your physical wellbeing, so if you’re not well, you probably won’t feel well. If you get cranky when you’re just tired, what are you when you’re sleep deprived? Lack of sleep can affect chemical balances in your body. Make sure you take into account what your emotions are saying. If you’re more anxious, depressed or generally down, you might be low on serotonin or vitamin D (among other things).
You can fall asleep anywhere
And you can do it in two minutes flat. On the back of the seat in front of you, on the keyboard, on the floor, when you’re driving and in the dentist’s waiting room—it doesn’t matter where because your body is continually on the verge of shutting down. And no, that’s not healthy.
You can’t think clearly
By the time you get to the end of a sentence, whether you’re speaking, reading, or writing it, you’ve forgotten the beginning. You either have to restart the whole thing, or you … wait, where was that going again?
You’re having other physical signs of exhaustion
It might be random slight twitching, it might be achiness, it might be headaches or just feeling “off.” All these things are the ways your body tells you something’s wrong. Listen.
There’s really only one solution to all this (and no, it’s not coffee). Get some sleep. Long term sleep deprivation can mess with your health. Whatever’s stealing your sleep needs to be dealt with, and either eliminated or rearranged so it’s not so interruptive.