Sleep -- Five signs you're not getting enough of it

by Melissa Jaramillo

not enough sleepWe all know how important it is to get enough sleep. Without it we're yawning, dragging at work, sluggish and swear you can hear your bed calling your name. It's about this time that a nap always sounds like a great idea, but what about all that work you have piling up?

But what if you don’t have these obvious signs of sleep deprivation?

Are you getting enough sleep? Maybe not. Check out these five signs that you may not be getting all the sleep you need after all!

Signs you're not getting enough sleep

About a third of American workers or roughly 40.6 million adults, get fewer than six hours of sleep each night according to the Huffington Post. If you get less than the recommended 7 to 9 hours a night, which is the CDC's suggestion, they claim it can result in serious health issues like heart problems and obesity. Not enough sleep can also disturb your day to day behavior as well.

• You could find that you're hungry all day long -- and not because you skipped a meal or had an extra hard workout at the gym. Too little sleep can trigger hunger -- and the kind that increases those snack urges, especially for high-calorie, high-carb foods, which of course ties into the bigger risk for obesity.

• You could find that you're crying more often than usual. Crying over silly commercials? Lack of sleep could have you tearing up over mushy material. USA reported back in a study from 2007 that sleep-deprived brains were 60 percent more reactive to negative and disturbing images. "It's almost as though, without sleep, the brain had reverted back to more primitive patterns of activity…" Matthew Walker, senior author of the study, said in a statement.

You're forgetting things or having trouble focusing. Sure, blame it on age or stress, but really too little sleep could be the culprit here as well. So the next time you forgot where your keys are, consider how much sleep you got the night before. According to WebMB, getting too few hours in dreamland can cause a whole bunch of cognitive problems, like difficulty focusing and paying attention, confusion, lower alertness and concentration, forgetfulness and trouble learning.

• You've spilled your milk, stubbed your toe or knocked your alarm clear off the nightstand. Have you become a klutz overnight or is this the result of a lack of a good night's rest? Researchers don't know exactly why, but sleepy people seem to "have slower and less precise motor skills," Clete Kushida, M.D., Ph.D., director of Stanford University Center for Human Sleep Research told Prevention.

• You've become less amorous, or could care less about sex. If you or your partner can't get in the mood and stress or an underlying health problem isn't to blame, you might want to spend some extra time between the sheets sleeping. Not enough sleep can decrease your sex drive and according to WebMD, interest in sex as well. It can increase levels of cortisol, the stress hormone which doesn't help sex either.

So don't wait until you can't get through the day without propping your eyelids open with toothpicks. Watch for these subtle signs you need more sleep and make it a point to adjust your schedule to get it.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.