Most adults need at least seven hours to feel rested and ready to function for the day ahead.
However, research conducted by the Sleep Health Foundation found that 33-45 per cent of Australian adults are sleep deprived most nights, leading to fatigue and irritability.
‘You might think your five-hours-a night is nothing to worry about, but chronic sleep deprivation can affect your cognitive performance at work and has been linked in some studies to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression and can even affect your performance in endurance sports,’ said sleep psychologist and SIMBA ambassador Hope Bastine.
Up to 45 per cent of Australian adults are sleep deprived most nights, leading to fatigue and irritability, research found (stock image)
People who sleep only a few hours each night might begin to feel that their body is not functioning properly.
But aside from feeling tired, what other signs indicate that you need more shut eye?
You’re perpetually hungry
Ms Bastine said if your brain is deprived of the energy it requires from sleep, it’ll often try to get it from elsewhere – namely food.
Sleep psychologist Hope Bastine (pictured) has shared the key signs you should look out for
‘Not getting adequate rest increases the production of the hunger hormone, ghrelin,’ she said. ‘And too much of this makes us crave sugary and fatty foods.
‘On top of this, poor sleep can affect something else called leptin – the satiety hormone. If you’re not getting adequate sleep you are more inclined to buckle to your cravings because you’re not experiencing the signals to stop eating.’
If you’re struggling with decision-making, tiredness could be the culprit.
‘When you’re tired, you’re not going to be on your A-game,’ said Ms Bastine. ‘Sleep deprivation can affect speed and higher-level cognitive processing.
‘This means essential functions, like problem solving, decision making or time management, become even more difficult to carry out,’ she added.
‘Getting enough sleep is essential for brain health in the long term,’ said Ms Bastine (stock image)
You feel like you’re on an emotional roller-coaster
Your emotions can be affected when you’re sleep deprived. ‘If you find yourself reacting to things that wouldn’t have affected you previously, or perhaps you feel yourself swinging from being wildly happy to particularly weepy, poor sleep may be the reason,’ explained Ms Bastine.
‘Your reactions to emotional stimuli can send your feelings into overdrive when you haven’t had enough shut eye.’
Lack of sleep can impair your working memory.
‘Getting enough sleep is essential for brain health in the long term. Sleep leads to memory consolidation and emotional processing,’ said Ms Bastine.
So if you’re struggling to get adequate rest on a day-to-day basis, it could be messing with your memory.
People who sleep only a few hours each night might begin to feel that their body is not functioning properly (stock image)
Your appetite for sex has decreased
It’s no secret that when you’re tired, your libido can decrease. One study from the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that sleep-deprived women were 14 per cent less likely to have sex than those who had who had a proper night’s sleep.
‘It’s not just women though. Your partner can feel the effects too,’ said Ms Bastine.
‘Another study from the University Chicago showed that men with poor sleep patterns have significantly lower levels of testosterone – the body’s natural mojo – which reduces their interest in being intimate with their partner.’
You’ve become more clumsy
Sleep can affect your neurological function so you might find yourself tripping up, dropping items or bumping into things.
‘When you’re less rested, there’s a lapse in how you neurologically function in general,’ explained Ms Bastine.
‘If you’re busy rushing about, there’s a lot of processing going on. And when we’re sleep deprived our brains can’t process as well.’