How do you know if you got a great night’s sleep?
Chances are, most people attribute it to how they feel. Maybe they feel well-rested, alert, happy and co-ordinated. Maybe they can get through a whole day without yawning. Maybe they feel confident and ready to take on the world.
Getting enough sleep has a huge link to your mood and mental wellbeing. So, yes, all those emotions are signs that your sleep routine is healthy. But what about the unexpected signs? What about some tell-tale physical signals that all is not well when it comes to your bedtime? Here are a few:
When you sleep, your body goes about the important and miraculous process of cell regeneration and rejuvenation. One of the areas that this particularly helps are your muscles. If you’re getting enough sleep, any minor achiness of soreness that you felt the following day should be alleviated the following morning. If you’re waking up and still feeling the pains that plagued you, there might be an issue with how much (or even how) you’re sleeping.
Your short term memory is unreliable
As you move through an REM cycle – or a Rapid Eye Movement cycle of sleep – your brain is processing all the activity of the day. What that means is that it is taking everything that you have seen, done and learned and categorising it so that you can store that information for future use. When you’re getting enough sleep, your brain will have enough time to go about this process and your short term memory will be strong and sound. But if you’re not getting enough sleep, you may find that you have trouble recalling things that happened in the recent past.
You can’t grow your hair
Remember when we were talking about cell regeneration before? This process is particularly important when it comes to the protein and cells in our hair. A sound night’s sleep can stimulate the release of hair growth hormones and improve the strength and health of our locks.
You’re struggling with alertness
It’s hard to be on top of your game if you’re not getting enough sleep. That’s because of the simple release that when you’re tired you are less alert, have less concentration and are usually sluggish and slow. If you are getting a healthy eight hours of sleep each night, you’ll find that you wake up each day with laser-sharp focus and will be able to reach the goals that you set for yourself each morning.
Your gut health needs attention
You might not associate gut health with sleep, but the two are closely linked. It’s a case of chicken and egg here: poor sleep impacts on the variety and health of the bacteria in our gut, and conversely, the bacteria on our gut can impact how we sleep. It’s important to understand that when your sleep is impacted you will notice it in your gut, specifically in the amount of good bacteria in your stomach. You can counteract this with a probiotic, but the best remedy is simple. Get to sleep.
Your skin is breaking out
Beauty sleep isn’t just a cutesy idiom, it’s a real thing. While you sleep, cell regeneration is taking place across your entire body including your face and skin. Sleep also produces collagen, which works to combat fine lines and wrinkles and circulates your blood flow around your skin, leading to a bright, radiant complexion. Without eight hours of rest each night, you’re simply not going to see these results in your face, no matter how many fancy moisturisers or expensive facials you go for.
You’re lacking creativity
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, The Beatles’ Yesterday, Albert Einstein’s theory of the speed of light… All of these things came to their creators in dreams. This should go some way to proving to you the power of a good night’s sleep, especially when it comes to creativity. According to Harvard researchers, when you regularly get your full eight hours of rest each night, you could find yourself more creative as your brain is able to strengthen the connections between emotions and memory in that time period. Who knows, you might have the next Great Australian Novel in you. One way to find out is to snuggle up.
When you’re tired, your reaction time and decision-making processes are weakened as your brain focuses on the important function of keeping you awake. It’s why you might find yourself extra clumsy on days when you have had a restless night in bed, or that you are more accident prone when suffering from lack of sleep. One place to look out for this is on the road, where many car accidents are caused by people whose reaction time has slowed down because they are tired. Make sure that you are getting plenty of rest before any long drives.
f you are concerned about your health, wellbeing or sleep, your first port of call should be your GP, who will advise a correct treatment plan.