The older we get, the more difficult it seems to get a good night’s rest. Even on those days where we’re extremely tired, something like work or your home life seems to get in the way of getting a full night of sleep. Though the required number of hours to sleep varies person to person, sometimes that may not even be enough.
According to Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, renowned sleep expert and author of “From Fatigued to Fantastic,” sleep deprivation — even when you think you’ve hit your needed number of hours — is more common than you may think.
“We are a sleep-deprived society. The average night sleep until under 35 years ago when light bulbs were invented was nine hours a night,” he said. “We are now down to an average of 6 ¾ hours per night. Being so used to it, many people don’t even know they are sleep deprived.”
Since some signs may not be as noticeable all the time, here are seven ways that can help you realize when you need more sleep — even when it doesn’t seem like it.
You fall asleep easily.
Falling asleep whenever or wherever may be a hidden talent for some, but according to Dr. Dawn Dore-Stites, assistant professor at Michigan Medicine and Reverie Sleep Advisory board member, this may be a sign that you need more sleep.
“Perhaps the biggest sign that you are sleep deprived is if you fall asleep easily,” she said. “That is, do you fall asleep on car rides? In boring meetings? Watching TV? If you could fall asleep easily during the day if you were given the opportunity to nap, it is a sign that you need more sleep than what you are currently getting in your regular routine.”
You are sleeping in later than you should.
Likewise, Dore-Stites noted that sleeping in later than normal is also a sign that you might need a little more sleep — even if you don’t think you do.
“If you are ‘oversleeping’ (i.e. sleeping in later than normal), it is most likely a sign of sleep deprivation,” she told INSIDER. “For example, if you go through the work week chalking up 6 hours of sleep per night, you may be more prone to sleep longer on weekends. Therefore, if you catch yourself sleeping longer on weekends, you may be sleep deprived — leading to feelings of tiredness during the day.”
You’re having trouble losing weight or controlling your eating habits.
If your workouts seem ineffective and your eating habits are uncontrollable, you may want to consider how much sleep you’ve been getting lately.
“Sleeplessness leads to a dysregulation of our appetite control hormones ghrelin and leptin, which can increase hunger,” Dr. Lisa Davis, chief nutrition officer of Terra’s Kitchen, told INSIDER. “Couple that with the physical and mental exhaustion of not sleeping and it becomes really difficult to withstand the double fudge sundae.”