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    Posted on Jan 28, 2015

    18 Important Things To Know About Being Sleep Deprived

    Including how to get the sweet, sweet ZZZs you need.

    1. There are a few different ways to get lousy sleep.

    2. When you're chronically sleep deprived, your brain doesn't work too well.

    Brian Gordon / Fowl Language Comics / Via fowllanguagecomics.com

    When you get consistently bad sleep, your brain suffers. You can experience impaired learning ability, poor judgment, emotional problems, poor motor skills, and more, Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, tells BuzzFeed Life. (Many of these things are the same as when you pull an all-nighter).

    (Special thanks to Brian Gordon, of Fowl Language Comics!)

    3. You don't even know how sleepy and impaired you actually are.

    NBC / Via awesomelyluvvie.com

    "If you talk to people who are chronically underslept, they perceive their sleepiness much less accurately," Morgenthaler says. "They're also not able to tell they're impaired. It's like having a bit too much alcohol — people who have a few drinks and think they can still drive safely. They're not able to tell how impaired they are."

    4. Bad sleep makes your appetite go up.

    FOX / Via postgradnej.tumblr.com

    There are hormones in your body — leptin and grehlin — that help regulate your appetite and your feelings of fullness after you've eaten. "With chronic sleep deprivation, the correct ratio of those hormones, and our body's response to them, gets impaired," Morgenthaler says. This can cause your appetite to go up, and your ability to tell when you're satisfied to not work as well.

    5. You end up craving high-calorie foods.

    Research shows that sleep-deprived brains actually respond differently (read: more enthusiastically) to high-calorie foods most likely to cause weight gain.

    6. Your metabolism gets all messed up too.

    7. Chronic sleep deprivation could make you gain weight.

    katsrcool / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: katsrcool

    And it'll definitely make losing weight much harder than it already is. See all the reasons above, for starters. And this article from the New York Times goes into more detail about the research on sleep and weight gain.

    8. Your general health suffers enormously.

    MTV / Via giphy.com

    In 2006, the Institute of Medicine (U.S.) Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research published a book called Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. From their chapter on the health consequences of sleep deprivation:

    The cumulative long-term effects of sleep loss and sleep disorders have been associated with a wide range of deleterious health consequences including an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stroke. After decades of research, the case can be confidently made that sleep loss and sleep disorders have profound and widespread effects on human health.

    9. If you suffer from sleep apnea, you have a much higher risk of cardiovascular disease and even death.

    HERE'S HOW TO GET BETTER SLEEP:

    10. Seriously, put away the electronic screens for at least an hour (or more) before you go to bed.

    11. Ban cell phones and pets from the bedroom altogether.

    12. Don't leave the TV on when you go to bed.

    Morgenthaler says a surprising number of people do this, and it can cause them to have lower quality sleep during the night. If you can't sleep without some noise in the background, try a white noise machine or a fan, and train yourself out of the habit.

    13. Try to stick to a consistent sleep and eating schedule as much as is possible.

    14. Stop drinking caffeine after noon if you have trouble sleeping.

    PrettyCollected / Via etsy.com

    Morgenthaler says that if you're suffering from sleep problems, do some research into what you're eating and drinking to see if anything in your diet might be contributing to your issues. You might want to experiment with cutting out caffeine altogether, and also alcohol, which can interfere with your sleep quality.

    Mug via PrettyCollected on Etsy.

    15. Sleep in a dark, cool room.

    LOVARTI / Via etsy.com

    Morgenthaler says that room environment can help you fall asleep more easily.

    Sleep mask via LOVARTI on Etsy.

    16. If you're a new parent, get whatever sleep you can...and remember that there's an end in sight.

    Tony Luong / Mimo Baby / Via mimobaby.com

    Having a baby at home means you're probably getting the worst sleep of your life. There are small things you can do to help yourself feel a little better: Nap when the baby naps, for instance. Naps don't replace good sleep, Czeisler says, but they're better than not sleeping at all. If you have a partner, do what you can to trade off middle-of-the-night duties (or sleeping in duties), so at least one of you gets a full night of sleep every now and then. Keep to a bedtime routine or schedule as much as is possible, if you can. Don't overcommit yourself when you're feeling exhausted — be good to yourself. And see a few other ideas to try out here and here.

    You might also want to look into the Mimo Smart Baby Monitor (shown above). It's a baby kimono that comes with a tracking device that can tell you all sorts of helpful things about your sleeping baby, like whether he's actually waking up and needs your attention, or if he's just stirring and you can let him be (and you can keep sleeping).

    And if all else fails, just remember: Your kid will sleep through the night one day. Promise.

    17. Sleep apnea is treatable — and if you have it, you should absolutely get treated for it.

    Rachel Tayse / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: 11921146@N03

    Many people don't realize they have sleep apnea, Morgenthaler says. Major signs to look out for: loud snoring, occasionally waking up gasping for air, and sleepiness during the day (see more symptoms here). Most people realize they have a problem when their partners tell them that they stopped breathing for a few seconds at night. People who are overweight are also at higher risk for sleep apnea, and drinking alcohol can make symptoms worse, Morgenthaler says.

    Pictured above are types of masks that people can wear to treat the condition.

    18. If you've tried everything to improve your sleep, but nothing seems to be working...you should see a sleep specialist.

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