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6 Signs You Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep

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For many busy Americans, getting eight or more hours of sleep per night sounds more like a luxury than a realistic goal, but research has uncovered several surprising effects of not getting enough sleep. From weight loss to the common cold, the amount of sleep you get each night can have a pretty big impact on your overall emotional and physical health, but how do you know if you’re getting enough? Below are six signs you may not be getting enough sleep each night and should re-evaluate your sleep schedule.

6. You’re Always  Hungry

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If you find yourself constantly looking for something to snack on during the day, even when you’ve eaten breakfast and haven’t increased your workouts, the culprit may be lack of sleep. Research has linked lack of sleep with higher levels of a hormone called ghrelin, which happens to be the same hormone that triggers hunger. That means you’re likely to end up feeling more hungry throughout the day, even when your body doesn’t need more food. Not only that, but people with high levels of ghrelin also tend to crave high-calorie and high-carb foods, so reaching for those celery sticks might not be enough to curb cravings. This could explain why poor sleep habits are also a risk factor for obesity.

5. You Cry More Easily

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Ever watched a television commercial that left you a sobbing mess? PMS might not be to blame. According to a 2007 study, sleep-deprived brains were approximately 60 percent more reactive to disturbing or negative images than well-rested brains. What that means in the real world is that you’re more likely to burst into tears over that Folgers commercial if you haven’t had enough sleep, and dealing with normal everyday challenges can be more difficult to respond to appropriately, as well. If you find yourself reacting strongly to situations that normally wouldn’t phase you, there’s a good chance you aren’t getting enough sleep.

4. You’re Forgetful or Can’t Focus

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While age can certainly be a contributing factor for forgetfulness or decreased focus, lack of sleep could be the real culprit. In fact, lack of sleep has been linked to a slew of cognitive difficulties in both adults and children, including confusion, poor concentration, forgetfulness, difficultly learning and lack of focus. If you find yourself constantly forgetting where you put your keys or searching desperately for the glasses you left on your head, take a few minutes to think about how much sleep you’ve gotten lately. Returning to a regular (and adequate) sleep schedule may eliminate many of the annoying cognitive issues you face on a daily basis.

Kara is more than just a do-it-all writer; she's also a jetsetter who has experienced cities and cultures around the world! Find Kara on LinkedIn!

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