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Recognising How Sleep Affects Your Days

By: Wendy Jacob - Updated: 19 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
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Many people fail to recognize how lack of sleep affects how they feel during the day. Tiredness results in more than feeling sleepy with an occasional yawn. The implications of continued sleeplessness can be far reaching, affecting not only physical and mental health but also relationships and work.

Note the Symptoms of Tiredness

It is important to recognise the symptoms of fatigue, not only in yourself but also in others who may be unaware of the problem. Of course, an occasional night with little or no sleep will usually be resolved with a catch-up over the following nights. It is longer periods of inadequate sleep that are more important to heed.

So how do you recognise how sleep affects your days? Of course, the well known signs such as yawning and finding it difficult to keep your eyes open are hard to miss, but it is the other less obvious ones that signal a longer term problem. These include:

  • Dozing off during sedentary or repetitive activities
  • Difficulty reacting to or understanding instructions
  • Making mistakes and not noticing errors
  • Slow reactions
  • Inability to maintain concentration
  • Irritability and bad temper.

These are just some of the signs that can easily be misinterpreted as being emotional or just another bad day!

Obviously motivation also has an affect and a ‘driven’ individual, or during times of great excitement or anxiety, the body and mind will call on inner reserves and counter these signs as it applies itself to the moment. It is usually during everyday life that these signs become more obvious, so it is important to note if there are changes not related to the current situation or the individuals normal character.

Ignoring the Symptoms

The longer an individual functions with insufficient sleep, the less likely they are to recognise the cause of the problem. It can become almost natural to feel grumpy and exhausted. Indeed in our society it is increasingly common for people to work long hours, undertake shift work or overtime and sleep is not considered important…

With the availability of 24 hour entertainment many people will feel that being sedentary compensates for lack of sleep. Rest and relaxation is not the same as sleep and in some cases can even prevent a refreshing nights rest. Late nights, alcohol and lack of exercise are just some of the things that hinder or prevent the body and mind from sleeping and may result in insomnia and other sleep problems.The relationship between night and day, being asleep and alert need to be in balance. The body demands a good nights sleep to function properly during the day. What happens during the day will influence how well the body sleeps at night.

Watching the Days

Individuals vary in their need for sleep so it can be helpful to consider the daytime symptoms rather than dwell on how many hours are spent sleeping. Invariably if you feel rested and alert during the day, then you are having sufficient for your needs. This may change from time to time and especially during life changes and at different ages.

Any daytime symptoms that affect physical and emotional health should be seen as warnings and worthy of investigation. There are many ways to encourage a better night’s sleep and this site contains recommendations and advice that can help. If the problem persists or there are symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, severe insomnia, pain and discomfort or continued depression and anxiety, it is worth a visit to a GP who will be able to investigate the cause and offer support.

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