Top 10 Signs You Need More Sleep

Ah, sleep! We never seem to get exactly the right amount of sleep. Although experts can't agree on how much sleep we should get, the Dr. Oz show recently had some tips on how to tell if you're not getting enough. Here is his Top 10.

#1: You fall asleep quickly. This might seem counter-intuitive, but a person who is regularly getting enough sleep will take 10-15 minutes to fall asleep. If you're out cold before your head fully settles into your pillow, chances are you're not getting enough sleep.

#2: You can't find your keys. Or remember the name of your neighbor. Forgetfulness is a sign that your brain isn't getting enough deep sleep to get all the filling done. Your sleep-deprived mind resembles the dress racks at Barney's after a big sale. It's no wonder you can't remember where you parked.

#3: Impulsivity is your watch word. Not getting enough sleep can lead to lowered inhibitions and more impulsive behavior. Scientists blame your prefrontal cortex for judgement lapses, and that area of the brain takes a beating if you don't get enough sack time.

#4: You're starting to sound like your dotty old uncle, cliché-wise. Another part of the brain, the frontal lobe, does most of the heavy lifting associated with speech patterns and word choice. Sleep deprivation is hard on "the lobe" and your brain falls back on catch phrases to cover it up. Nobody notices, right?

#5: You're always thinking about food. Sleep is great at balancing out everything in our body, including our hormone levels. When these sneaky hormones don't have enough down time, some of them (leptin and ghrelen) get out of whack and that leads to binging on snacks every waking hour. Plus, you have more waking hours to binge on those lovely salty snacks when you're not spending enough time in bed.

#6 & #7: Your body and mind are both incompetent. Your thinking is clumsy and so is your body. Inadequate sleep fills your thoughts with cobwebs and slows your reaction times. Never a good combination!

#8 & #9: You're tuning out or conking out. Given a few minutes without stimulation, your sleep-deprived brain either starts wool-gathering or actually snoozing. Neither choice is a good one, although daydreaming is more socially accepted than outright snoring. Plus, you avoid those embarrassing dimples on your face from your computer's keyboard.

#10: You are a complete grouch. Yes, you! Without enough sleep, your brain is prone to irritable outbursts that can really impact your social life. The impulsivity we talked about back in #3 (you haven't forgotten, already, have you?). The old "getting out of bed on the wrong side" really should refer to getting out of bed too soon!

So how many of these symptoms did you recognize in your own behavior? Might this be just the stimulus you need to get a DVR and stop staying up to watch the Late Show? Your body and your friends might thank you!

Good night.

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