Yesterday you poured orange juice on your cereal instead of milk. Last week you were late to a big meeting because you hit the snooze button too many times.
You have a million things to do and zero energy.
Have you ever stopped to think about what’s causing your problems? It’s a lack of deep sleep.
You’re not alone. According to The Sleep Doctor, close to 40% of adults in the U.S. nod off during the day at least once a month (1)! This common problem can put you at risk for car accidents. It can also kill your focus and lower your productivity.
Getting enough sleep is one piece of the puzzle. Sleep quality is the other piece.
Read on to discover eight signs you’re not sleeping deeply enough.
Eight Clear Signs You’re Not Sleeping Deeply Enough
1. Brain fog: Okay, back to the whole orange-juice-on-your-cereal thing. Your prefrontal cortex controls your short-term memory and attention span. If you don’t get quality sleep, you will make these silly mistakes.
2. Zero desire: If you find yourself telling your partner you’re not in the mood for sex, sleep quality could be to blame. Let’s face it, you don’t have the energy for physical activity. Poor sleep can also zap the hormones that create a healthy libido.
3. Dozing off: As stated above, a power nap is encouraged. If you can’t keep your eyes open at the office or during dinner with a friend, lack of deep sleep could be why.
4. Trouble waking up: When you’re cycling through NREM and REM properly, you should wake up refreshed. If you wake up feeling sleepy there’s a problem.
5. Weight gain: Leptin is a hormone that tells your body you’re full. When you don’t get enough sleep, leptin levels drop. This keeps you feeling hungry and reaching for the Doritos.
6. Avoiding exercise: Most days you’re so tired you can barely stand it. Running on a treadmill is the last thing on Earth you want to do. If you find yourself skipping the gym because you don’t have the energy, you might not be getting enough deep sleep.
7. You’re craving junk food: For the most part, you’re health-conscious. But lately, you’ve been craving sugary and fatty foods. When you’re drained, you may reach for a soda or French fries to get that boost of energy you’re so desperate for.
8. You have a short fuse. John Hopkins Medicine says that when you don’t get enough deep sleep, you’re more at risk of depression(2). If you want to stay in bed all day or can’t stop yelling at your partner, lack of quality sleep could be the cause.
If you checked “yes” ☑️ to any of the above signs, you likely aren’t sleeping deeply enough.
Learn what a healthy sleep cycle looks like and discover ways to improve your sleep quality.
What Does a Healthy Sleep Cycle Look Like?
When you sleep at night, you should cycle through different types and stages of sleep.
There are two main types of sleep:
REM: rapid eye movement.
NREM: non-rapid eye movement.
After someone dozes off, they go into NREM sleep first.
There are three stages of NREM sleep:
N1: This first stage typically lasts one to seven minutes.
N2: This second stage typically lasts 10 to 15 minutes.
N3: This third stage typically lasts 20 to 40 minutes. N3 is known as “deep” sleep or “slow-wave” sleep.
After N3 ends, you move back through the lighter stages of NREM and then begin REM sleep. As the night goes on, you should cycle through NREM and REM.
Each sleep cycle takes around 90 to 120 minutes. You should go through 4 to 5 sleep cycles per night.
Experts think cycling through NREM and REM supercharges the brain and body.
Factors That Affect Sleep Quality
The older you get, the less deep sleep you get. There’s nothing you can do to stop this natural decline. But you can control other factors that affect sleep quality such as:
You should also avoid all-nighters, which can mess with natural patterns of sleep.
Sleep should leave you feeling refreshed and energized. If you’re not sleeping deeply enough, sleep products could help.
Try a sleep mask to block out light or earplugs to cancel out noise.
Sleep products help if you travel for work and need to create an ideal sleep space on the road. As for that annoying guy who keeps bumping you with his elbow? You can always ask the flight attendant to move your seat.
(1) "Sleep Disorders." The Sleep Doctor, thesleepdoctor.com/sleep-disorders/. Last accessed 01 December 2022.
(2) "Depression and Sleep: Understanding the Connection." John Hopkins Medicine, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/depression-and-sleep-understanding-the-connection. Last accessed 01 December 2022.
Feeling like you have a million things to do and zero energy?
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