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Why Sleep Matters: Signs You May Be Sleep Deprived

This is National Sleep Awareness Week, and this year’s theme “Begin with Sleep” highlights the importance of good sleep health for individuals to best achieve their goals.

Below, we share some signs that you may be sleep deprived.

8 Signs You May Be Sleep Deprived

#1 – You have trouble remembering things.

When your body is tired, it can affect your ability to remember little details.

#2 – You are more indecisive than usual.

Sleep deprivation can affect your ability to cognitively process things, such as solving problems, managing your time, or carrying out other tasks where decisions are required.


#3 – Your immune system is shot.

People who don’t get enough sleep tend to have weaker immune systems, which means that they are likely to get sick more often. In fact, your body needs sleep and rest to recharge and fight off infections.

#4 – You have trouble seeing.

The ciliary muscle is what helps your eyes focus, while the ocular muscle helps move your eyes from side to side and up/down. When you’re fatigued or sleep deprived, it is much more difficult to control these muscles, which can lead to temporary vision problems, such as double vision or difficulty reading up close.

#5 – Your skin suffers.

Ever wonder why they call it “beauty sleep”? While you are getting your Zzzs, your body is hard at work, repairing damaged skin cells among other things. Sleep deprivation can interrupt this process and throw off your hormonal balance, leading acne-prone skin, excess wrinkles, and skin that generally looks “older”.

#6 – You experience micro-sleep.

Micro-sleep occurs whenever you nod off for a few seconds. This is especially problematic if you are behind the wheel of a car. Drowsy driving or driving while tired is on par with driving drunk or under the influence. If you ever feel tired, it is in your best interest to pull over and rest until you feel you are able to safely drive again.

#7 – You’re an emotional rollercoaster.

Chances are you’ve been around someone who is cranky or “off” when they don’t get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep can lead to a wide range of emotional side effects – from being filled with anxiety and sadness to being overly-giddy.

#8 – You are clumsy.

Being sleep deprived lowers your reaction time as well as your ability to focus. You’d be surprised at how much goes on, neurologically, when you climb a flight of stairs or grab something from the fridge. When you have a lowered reaction time, your fine motor skills are also affected – making you more susceptible to clumsy mistakes.

Sleep Medicine at WakeMed

Meet our physicians, and learn more about the services we offer at our Sleep Center in Cary, NC.

About Alberto Santos, MD

Dr. Alberto Santos is a board certified physician in sleep medicine and neurology. He brings decades of experience in treating a broad range of sleep disorders and related neurological conditions – often in partnership with pulmonologists and other specialists. His specialties include the treatment and diagnosis of sleep disorders including sleep apnea, snoring, CPAP/BiPAP issues, REM behavior disorder, daytime sleepiness and restless leg syndrome.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Santos today.