- Getting consistent, quality sleep is so important for your health and well-being.
- If you're not clocking enough z's, your body might be reacting in slightly weird or otherwise pretty subtle ways.
- There are many troubling physical and emotional symptoms of exhaustion you may not even know about, and none of them involve actually feeling tired.
We've all suffered at the hands of a sleepless night here or there, but some of us fail to get the consistent, quality sleep our bodies absolutely need to be able to function properly. Regularly getting enough sleep is crucial for a multitude of reasons, especially as our modern lives become increasingly busy and schedules jam-packed.
Whether you're suffering from a chronic issue, like insomnia, or a mental health issue like depression or anxiety ... or you're simply staying up too late to watch Netflix you could be setting yourself up for a terrible night's sleep. And, over time, that could lead to chronic exhaustion, which is not good.
So how do you know if you're truly exhausted? Ironically, feeling physically tired may not even be the top sign … though it is the most obvious. A lot of horrible things happen to your body when you don't get enough sleep, but fatigue isn't always one of them.
Holly Phillips, MD, author of The Exhaustion Breakthrough told Well + Good that "fatigue is not necessarily one of the main signs of sleep deprivation. Getting used to it doesn't mean that's all [the sleep] you need. It means you forget what it feels like to have good sleep."
Yikes. Here are some of the telltale signs that you're actually exhausted, even if you don't think you are.
Your emotions are all over the place.
If you find yourself with a shorter fuse than normal or unexpectedly at the brink of tears, you might be suffering from exhaustion. As Dr. Phillips told Well + Good, "Sleep deprivation increases risk of depression, anxiety, and being particularly reactive to stress."
Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen, medical director of Take Shape for Life, told Daily Burn in 2017 that just as Msmushroom Satin with Woman's Shoes natural Dancing Classical Zipper 4''heel 4rzw4Cq can impact your emotional health, it's also directly linked to your performance in that budget meeting or as you comb through those emails.
"Among other things, your body uses sleep to stabilize chemical imbalances, to refresh areas of the brain that control mood and behavior, and to process the memories and knowledge that you gathered throughout the day," Dr. Andersen said. When sleep is regularly disturbed, "You won't retain knowledge very well, as your brain depends on sleep to re-process what you experienced during the day."
You forgot your spouse's birthday and other important things.
If you used to buy the perfect birthday gift weeks in advance and now forget until the day of (oops!), or if you're suddenly losing important items, like your wallet or keys you might just be downright exhausted.
As Dr. Phillips explained to Well + Good, "A lot of our memories are transferred from short- to long-term during sleep, especially during deep stages," so if you're not getting enough sleep, you could find yourself forgetting things that were once second nature.
It's increasingly harder to ward off a cold.
A less-than-fun side effect of not getting quality z's can be a weakened immune system, which might make it harder for your body to fight off illness, whether it's an infection or the common cold. If you've been getting sick often and can't figure out why, it could be due to a lack of sleep.
Chris Winter, MD, owner of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine in Virginia told Health magazine in 2015, "If you're not sleeping properly there can be significant issues in terms of your body's ability to fight off infections."
We've already addressed how your brain can feel fuzzy, making it hard to focus or remember things that used to be front-of-mind, but it turns out chronic exhaustion can also make it more difficult to effectively manage your workload, both at home and at work.
If you're suddenly Kenneth Men's Reaction Shoe Cole Suede Min Deter Burgundy Ed 70xdr0qv both big and small, fatigue may be to blame. Kelly Baron, Ph.D., an assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University in Chicago, explained why this is to Health magazine in 2015.
She said, "Sleep deprivation can affect speed and higher-level cognitive processing," so managing your time and efficiency could become a lot harder.
Conversely, if you find yourself making snap decisions when it's out of character for you to do so, you could be flat-out exhausted. Baron explained to Health that exhaustion lowers your inhibitions, so doing things you wouldn't normally do might start to become the norm. If you're acting on impulse in ways that aren't normal for you, like speeding in your car or hastily making decisions at work, you need to figure out how to consistently get enough sleep.
Having a big appetite isn't a bad thing, per se, but if you find that all of a sudden you're hungrier than normal, or craving rich foods, your body might be telling you something. Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., a board-certified expert in clinical sleep disorders, told Daily Burn in 2017 that your level of hunger (and what kinds of foods you're craving) can be linked to how much rest you're getting on the regular.
"The more exhausted you are, the more you crave high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods," Breus said.
When you're exhausted, your body produces more cortisol, the stress hormone.
Its natural response is to crave the neurotransmitter serotonin, which Breus says "is a calming hormone. An easy way to access it is by ingesting comfort food full of carbs and fat."
Of course, this means you'll crave heavy, comfort foods in order to quell that cortisol spike.
Scary, but true: When you're suffering from a lack of sleep, you could start bumping into things or feeling a bit clumsier than usual.
As Dr. Winter told Health magazine, it could be because your motor skills are off.
"When you're tired, there's a lapse in how you neurologically function in general. When you walk up and down the stairs, there's a lot of processing going on there," he explained. "When sleep deprived you can't process particularly well."
This might explain why you're tripping over your own two feet or walking into the coffee table you normally gracefully walk past every single day.
Skin is the body's largest organ, and it can tell you a lot about what's going on internally. So if you're Ankle Women's Cavave Canvas Short Lace Rain Rubber Shoes Boots With White Waterproof Shoes up wfdq6d, you can expect it to show by way of skin woes, including dry skin or acne.
Debra Jaliman, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist explained to Health magazine what you can expect when you aren't getting the sleep you need.
"A lack of sleep upsets your hormonal balance and elevates circulating estrogen levels," Jaliman said. "If done for long periods, you will see that you have excess wrinkling probably from a decrease in collagen. The body produces it while you're sleeping."
Collagen keeps skin supple and soft, so you will start to look older in time. Plus, as we mentioned before, when levels of the stress hormone cortisol spike, you can retain water, making skin look puffy and triggering inflammation, which leads to breakouts.
When your skin is stressed, it can also be dry and flaky, possibly leading to dry lips, eyelids, and your overall complexion.
If you've ever woken from a sleepless night feeling uneasy in your stomach, you know just how awful it can be. Chronic exhaustion does a number on your digestive system, and your impermeabile BRIAR Brown BOOTRED RADFORD Timberland Man Scarponcino 6 BCq0tXp are inextricably linked with the quality of your slumber.
Basically, losing sleep on the regular messes with your body's natural digestive processes, sending your gut bacteria (which sounds bad, but is totally normal) out of whack. What does this mean for you? Bouts of diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or overall discomfort… which no one wants.
Lace Up Booties Ankle Top Heel High Polish Moda Chunky Black Military Polish 47 Platform It's hard to fall asleep at night.
In a cruel twist of irony, you might actually find it harder to fall asleep the more chronically exhausted you are. Yes, really.
As Dr. Phillips shared with Well + Good, it stems back to those hormones putting your body under constant added stress.
"When you're chronically sleep-deprived, certain hormone levels like cortisol become elevated. It's almost as though when sleep-deprived, your body is in a constant state of extreme arousal," she said.
If you're perpetually exhausted and manage to even make it to the gym, you might be giving yourself a gold star. But when you do get there, you're likely not hitting your peak, and it's all because of how tired your body is.
"Exercising requires mental focus as well as physical activity," Dr. Andersen told Daily Burn. "If your brain is falling behind because you are not well-rested, your ability to properly challenge your body will be limited — and that's in addition to the many performance consequences that come with poor sleep."
Your muscles can't properly heal and repair themselves post-workout when you're not giving them the rest they desperately need, so you could suffer injuries during or after your workout that you might not otherwise.
When your body is running on empty, there's a good chance your stress levels are at their highest, which won't do you any favors.
According to the American Psychological Association, stress and sleep are inextricably linked. "When they do not get enough sleep, 21% of adults report feeling more stressed. Adults with higher reported stress levels fare even worse — 45% feel even more stressed if they do not get enough sleep."
It's a vicious cycle — you're stressed because you're not getting enough sleep, and you're not getting enough sleep because you're stressed. One or two late nights likely won't have any detrimental long-term effects, but when restless nights become the norm, it's your body that pays the price.
It sounds bizarre but true: If you've been noticing your vision is spotty or unfocused lately, you could be exhausted.
"When fatigued, you're not able to control the muscles of the eye as well," Steven Shanbom, MD, an ophthalmologist in Berkley, Michigan, explained to Health magazine.
And when your eye muscles tire out, too, you might notice it in your ability to read up close, see from a distance, or just to remain focused. Swear you're seeing double? You might seriously need some z's.
Sign up here to get INSIDER's favorite stories straight to your inbox.