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Dark circles under the eyes, low energy and fatigue are common tell-tale signs of bad sleeping patterns. Photo: iStock
Dark circles under the eyes, low energy and fatigue are common tell-tale signs of bad sleeping patterns. Photo: iStock

Are you sleep deprived? Watch out for these signs

Chronic sleep deprivation can result in health issues like diabetes, blood pressure, heart problems, stroke, obesity, lower sexual drive, depression, and ultimately affect your work too

Dark circles under the eyes, low energy and fatigue are common tell-tale signs of bad sleeping patterns. But the damage could run deeper. Chronic sleep deprivation can result in health issues like diabetes, blood pressure, heart problems, stroke, obesity, lower sexual drive, depression, and ultimately affect your work too. These three signs can be indicators of sleep deprivation—and affect your work.

Carbohydrate cravings

There is a clear connection between sleep and the hormones that regulate appetite: ghrelin and leptin. The production of ghrelin, responsible for hunger, increases when we don’t get enough sleep. And the secretion of leptin, which sends “full" signals to the brain, decreases owing to sleep deficit. So when sleep deficit builds up, it leads to an increase in ghrelin that may make one reach for high-carb food in the afternoons.

Work woes: When you give in to the temptation, sugar levels rise and then plummet, hitting your efficiency levels.

Mood swings

The link between sleep and mood has long been studied and it has been found that even partial sleep deprivation can leave you more upset about inconsequential issues. That’s because elevated levels of the hormone cortisol, which triggers the body’s flight or fight response, can lead to anxiety attacks. Getting more sleep is one of the best ways to naturally lower cortisol levels, and alleviate anxiety.

Work woes: It goes without saying that when people are in a positive, happy mood, they feel motivated, energized, and able to accomplish tasks better. However, if you are in an anxious mood, even a small provocation can trigger irritation or anger, which is definitely bad news at work.

Brain fog

The general inability to think straight or remember anything results when neurons malfunction. In fact, a new study published last year shows that sleep deprivation disrupts the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other, leading to temporary mental lapses that affect memory and visual perception.

Work woes: Inability to focus leads, of course, to mistakes at work.

—Experts: Manvir Bhatia, director, sleep medicine, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute and Neurology Sleep Centre, Delhi; and Neha Dutt, psychologist, Dharamshila Narayana Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi.

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