Restful sleep is crucial for good health. However, in today’s hectic world, many of us just aren’t getting enough. It’s unfortunate, as science shows us not getting enough sleep can drastically affect our health. With so much going on, you may be missing warning signs, but we have a solution that may be able to help. That solution, often called a sleep calculator, can help control your risk for all of the conditions mentioned below.
Sleep calculators help you make sure you are getting enough good sleep a night. They do this by calculating how long you need to make it through enough sleep cycles to be fully rested. Adding a sleep calculator along with proper diet and exercise can really make a difference.
Are you aware of these warning signs you aren’t getting enough sleep?
Six Warning Signs About Your Health
Are you wondering if lack of sleep may be harming your health? Undoubtedly your body is trying to tell you something, but you might be missing its’ cues. So here’s something that might help:
1. You’re forgetting things.
Don’t worry, your brain is probably okay, Health.com reports But, “When you’re tired, you’re usually not paying a whole lot of attention to what’s going on when trying to make a memory,” says Chris Winter, M.D., owner of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine, in Virginia. Getting a good sleep is crucial for a healthy brain. A recent study by the National Institutes of Health shows that in mice, sleep may remove toxic molecules from the brain.
2. You find it more difficult to make decisions.
“Sleep deprivation can affect speed and higher-level cognitive processing,” says Kelly Baron, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Neurology at Northwestern University in Chicago. Necessary functions — like the ability to solve problems or manage our time — may become difficult. In one study, volunteers who were either sleep-deprived or well-rested performed tasks that required quick decisions. The accuracy decisions for the sleep-deprived group dropped by 2.4 percent. The accuracy of volunteers who were well-rested went up by 4.3 percent.
3. Your immune system suffers.
“If you’re not sleeping properly there can be significant issues in terms of your body’s ability to fight off infections,” Winter says. That’s especially true when it comes to fighting a cold. Researchers found that people who sleep less than 7 hours a night catch colds nearly 3 times as often as those who get more than 8 hours. This may be thanks to cytokines, which are proteins your immune system produces while you sleep. Cytokines fight viruses and inflammation.
4. Your eyesight can suffer too.
“When fatigued, you’re not able to control the muscles of the eye as well,” says Steven Shanbom, M.D., an ophthalmologist in Berkley, Michigan. Inadequate sleep stresses the ciliary muscle. This is the muscle that helps your eyes focus, and when it gets tired, it makes it difficult for you to read up close.
5. Slowed reaction time
Slowed reaction time can be very dangerous if a quick response is necessary, especially if you’re driving or operating heavy machinery. The National Highway Traffic Administration reports that at least 100,000 crashes reported to police yearly are due to driver exhaustion.
6. Weight gain.
An increased appetite often goes along with sleep deprivation, resulting in weight gain. If your brain isn’t getting enough energy from sleep, it will turn to food as a replacement. Sleep deprivation can result in increased ghrelin and leptin hormones in your gut. Ghrelin makes you crave fatty and sugary foods. Leptin is the hormone that makes you feel full, but it doesn’t work well if you’re sleep-deprived.
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But here’s something that’s in your corner:
The Sleep Calculator
This may sound complicated, but it’s not. Our bodies go through a number of cycles when we sleep. Some sleep experts say we should pay attention to these cycles, more than the number of hours slept each night.
Typically each sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes, and you should try to sleep through five or six of them. Sleep calculators help assure you are getting up between phases. Waking in the middle of them can leave you groggy and grumpy. Sleep calculators also assure that you get enough phases in each night.
“Waking up mid-cycle can leave you feeling grumpy and tired,” warns web-blinds.com, which has developed a sleep calculator that you can use here.
ALSO READ: The Causes And Dangers Of Oversleeping
Getting Great Sleep Can Improve Your Life
Getting good sleep is absolutely essential to your health. A sleep calculator, getting in some exercise, and a healthy diet will all help you get better, and enough, sleep. Your body and brain will thank you!
Kayla Soders is a Digital Marketing Strategist with a passion for food, fun and fitness. When she isn’t getting fit or eating, she can be found managing popular health sites (such as defendyourhealthcare.us), laughing at memes, or rolling her eyes at minor annoyances. She’s passionate (and a little crazy) when it comes to anything (or anyone) she cares about, with a “Work Hard, Slay Hard” mentality.