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Sleep deprivation signs and solutions

If you wake up feeling tired and find it hard to get through the day, you may be suffering from the effects of sleep deprivation. True sleep deprivation is more than the occasional sleepless night – and it can have significant health implications. “Take a minute to check if your irregular sleeping patterns correspond to sleep deprivation and then review top tips to address your sleeping problems.” – Dr Ranj, Furniture Village sleep and wellness ambassador
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Do you have sleep deprivation symptoms?

1. Groggy mornings: If you struggle to get out of bed in the morning and find it difficult to get going even after a shower and a cup of coffee, then you’re likely feeling the effects of sleep deprivation.

2. Red eyes, dark under-eye circles and sallow skin: They're all short-term consequences of a bad night’s sleep. Sleep allows the body time to repair, and to regulate proteins like collagen, which keeps skin looking youthful.

3. Dehydration: If you wake up thirsty, you may also be sleep deprived. Dehydration, whether it’s down to night-time sweating or too much alcohol before bed, can cause a disturbed night’s sleep.

4. Mental and physical health worries: Lack of sleep, night after night, can be a serious issue. The long-term physical and mental effects of sleep deprivation range from low mood and poor memory to heart disease and fertility problems.

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Top 11 ways to say goodnight to your sleep deprivation symptoms

1. Stick to a sleep schedule: If you sleep in after a late night, you’ll likely have trouble getting to sleep on time that night, and the night after that. Disturbed sleep patterns are a major cause of sleep deprivation so try to stick to regular bedtimes and wake up times.

2. Try a melatonin-rich bedtime drink: Melatonin is the hormone that helps regulate your body’s sleep/wake cycles. If you don’t produce enough you may have trouble sleeping. Try having a malted milk drink, high in melatonin, before you turn in.

3. Stay cool at night: Being too hot at night can keep you awake. If you have a tendency to overheat, it’s best to opt for a pocket sprung mattress over memory foam, or find a cooling memory foam mattress with built in airflow.

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4. Don’t eat too close to bedtime: Experts advise eating your last meal of the day at least three hours before bedtime. That way your body has time to properly digest your food and you avoid sleep deprivation-causing nausea, acid reflux and heartburn.

5. Check your mattress: The right mattress is key to a good night’s sleep. Lack of support can put your spine out of alignment which, in turn, may put undue strain on your muscles and ligaments causing the discomfort which keeps you awake. Find your perfect mattress.

6. Say no to a nightcap: Even a small glass of wine close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep and cause sleep deprivation. Alcohol tends to make you spend more time in deep sleep and less time in the restorative REM stage of the sleep cycle.

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7. Exercise earlier in the day

Exercising too close to bedtime can raise your body temperature which can cause sleeping problems. High intensity and endurance training can lead to higher levels of the hormone cortisol which may also keep you awake.

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8. Keep the TV in the living room: If you like to lounge on your bed watching TV or checking your phone, you may have trouble sleeping at night. This is because your brain will come to associate your bed with stimulating activities rather than with sleep.

9. Don’t try to make up for lost sleep: If you’re sleep deprived during the week, it’s really tempting to try to pay off your sleep debt by lying in or napping at the weekend. Extra sleep during the day, however, depletes the body's need for deep restorative sleep at night. Try to keep to a regular sleep pattern instead.

10. Don’t confuse more sleep with better sleep: If you’re feeling sleep deprived, you might decide to get a really early night. But trying to go to sleep before your body is ready can be counterproductive. Just lying in bed – not sleeping and worrying about it – can lead to sleep anxiety and even more sleep deprivation.

11. Banish your phone: The blue light from your phone’s screen can delay the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, essential for a good night’s rest. Be sure to turn off all devices for at least an hour before bed.

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Did you know that over 10 million people have called in sick due to lack of sleep over the last three months?

Staggering isn’t it! Read our survey results for more eyewatering sleep stats. The scale of the problem is so bad that we’re launching a new National Sleep Helpline in partnership with The Sleep Charity. For more expert sleep advice, visit Sleep Well, Live Well.

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