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Four Psychological Signs That Tell You Need Sleep to Protect Your Mental Health

Most of us nowadays have schedules that are hectic with work or school that 24 hours doesn’t seem to be enough to get everything done. With that limited amount of time, most people tend to cut back time on the activity that we do every day – sleep.

While it’s fine to lessen the amount of sleep that we get for a couple of days or two, it isn’t a healthy thing to do. Doing it for several consecutive days can bring about several harmful effects on our mental health, as well as our physical body, which can lead to long-term problems. When we lack sleep, our whole mind and body suffer – it affects our mental process, we experience mood swings, and the body functions don’t work as well as they should.

Some several signs and symptoms display the effects of sleep deprivation. Although our body suffers, as exhibited by signs and symptoms like indigestion, vision changes, and a weakened immune system, it isn’t just the physiological aspect of our body that is affected by lack of sleep. The psychological element – the emotional and mental capacities also face an impact of sleep deprivation. These can lead to several problems like accidents, injuries, falls, and issues in socialization, relationships, work, and more. Just what are these psychological signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation?

Memory Problems

You may think back on moments when you can’t remember specific details or get that particular memory back in your head. After staying up all night, sometimes your mind tends to weaken, and you might have trouble remembering things. Memory problems aren’t surprising whenever you lack sleep.

Several studies have shown that sleep plays a crucial factor when it comes to maintaining the sharpness of our memories. This is because sleep allows the connections of nerve cells to stay active, providing a suitable pathway for neural signals which can transmit memories. The lesser amount of sleep that you get, the fewer the nerve cell connections that you have – this results in the faulty short term or long term memory — reflecting in the form of forgetfulness, inability to recall details, and poor memory overall.

Decreased Concentration

The brain is responsible for the several mental functions that we are capable of. One of these functions is concentration, which is very important in our daily lives as it helps us accomplish tasks throughout the day. When you lack sleep, you may notice that you can’t focus on a particular job, pay attention, or listen. These can be signs of sleep deprivation.

A good example is during class. You have trouble concentrating on what the teacher is talking about. You would instead doze off or distract yourself with other things. This might be a sign that you lack sleep. Studies have shown that those students who don’t get enough sleep have poor results on their tests, which require their concentration. Besides, they tend to overestimate their abilities. It’s often their population group that thinks lack of sleep isn’t something serious, and missing out on a few hours of sleep won’t be affecting their concentration. That’s where they’re wrong. Someone who gets six hours of sleep every night will significantly perform better than a person who only sleeps four hours every night.

Poor Decision-Making

Restorative sleep is essential in maintaining our presence of mind. Someone who lacks sleep tends to make decisions haphazardly, which often leads to harmful results. Poor decision making is one of the symptoms of sleep deprivation, which can significantly affect work or school performance and social relationships as well.

Mood Swings

moody angry man holding phoneWhen you lack sleep, your threshold against stress reduces significantly. That would mean it won’t take much effort to piss you off in normal situations. It leads to the instability of your mood, which can swing back and forth from happy to angry to sad, and so forth. By getting enough sleep, we can manage our emotions with little or no problems at all. Even when we experience tense moments, as long as we’re well-rested, we can still handle the situation without exploding.

However, all that changes if you have sleep deprivation. It can irritate you quickly and even with the smallest thing. It can tick off at random things that don’t usually get on your nerves.

Getting enough sleep is truly important in protecting one’s mental health. Studies have shown that lack of sleep may lead to depression, feeling burnt out, and decreased degree of empathy. Those who are already experiencing depression or other mental conditions may have their signs and symptoms aggravated even more because of a lack of sleep.

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