Signs you're not getting a great night's sleep

13th Mar 2020

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health. In fact, it’s just as important as eating healthy and exercising. Sleep plays a huge role in both your physical and mental health and lack of sleep has been linked to many issues that are detrimental to our work and private lives.

Between work, family and play, it can be difficult to get a good night's sleep. While it's easy to tell you're tired after a night of counting sheep, there are a few more subtle signs that show you're not getting the great night’s sleep your body deserves.

Here are our 7 top signs to look out for:

1. You Battle with Breakouts

They call it "beauty sleep" for a reason. It’s not just the big bags under your eyes you need to worry about. If you’re not getting good sleep, your skin may start to show it too.  Some studies have found a link between lack of sleep and acne. This can be down to how sleep controls hormones in your body, especially the substance cortisol. Cortisol, in turn, causes the skin to secrete more sebum, which results in acne. Another factor connecting sleep deprivation to acne is the increase insulin resistance, which can contribute to one being acne-prone. This is because insulin resistance can increase glucose or sugar which is one of the major causes of acne.

2. You Gain Weight

Insufficient sleep is a major cause of obesity according to latest findings. People who sleep fewer than six hours at night are more likely to be overweight— according to long-running Wisconsin Sleep Cohort study in 2004. The effect of sleep on weight gain is believed to be mediated by numerous factors, including hormones and motivation to exercise. When the body does not get enough sleep, it tends to overproduce an appetite-stimulating hormone called ghrelin, and under produce an appetite-suppressing hormone called leptin. If you’re trying to lose weight, getting quality sleep is absolutely crucial.

3. You Crave Junk Food including caffeine

A sleep-deprived brain is more likely to crave unhealthy snacks and meals. It may be that judgment and decision-making aren’t as sharp when you’re tired, which makes it easier for other desires to take over and self-control around the biscuit tin goes out the window. Is one cup of coffee not doing it? Then you drink another followed by another? This amount of caffeine will only result in you feeling worse.

4. You're unable to focus and remember things

When you're running low on sleep, you'll probably have trouble holding onto and recalling details. That's because sleep plays a big part in both learning and memory. Without enough sleep, it's tough to focus and take in new information. Your brain also doesn't have enough time to properly store memories so you can pull them up later.

5. You feel depressed

Mental health issues, such as depression, are strongly linked to poor sleep quality and sleeping disorders such as nightmares. Latest studies found that by treating the sleep disorder in fact alleviated symptoms of mental health. If you are feeling down in the dumps, retreat off to bed early and switch off from screen time. Try reading a good book or have a hot bath beforehand to help you unwind and drift off to natural good night’s sleep.

6. You’re moody and irritable

You might feel like your emotions are out of control when you're sleep deprived. It's unfortunate that so many of us fail to realise how insufficient sleep affects our moods. Sleep is very important in the processing of emotions.  So things that normally haven't gotten you worked up in the past—a tear-jerking movie or big work deadline—may provoke anxiety, sadness, or anger.

7. You get ill often

Sleep deprivation also hurts the immune system, leaving your body open to many different issues. Ongoing lack of sleep changes the way your immune cells work. They may not attack as quickly, and you could get sick more often. Are you suffering from multiple coughs and colds this winter? It may be down to lack of sleep.


Most of us need around 8 hours of good-quality sleep a night to function properly. If you continued to have a disturbed night’s sleep night after night, you can imagine the strain it would place on your nervous system, body and overall health. So if you’re not sleeping well or not feeling your best, it’s important to make some changes. 

A good night’s sleep repairs the body and mind, which helps you function at your best. Why not take a much needed time out?

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