You might think the signs of exhaustion are obvious, but sleep deprivation isn’t as obvious as you might think it is. Its effects creep up on us. Here are a few common manifestations of this sleep deprivation monster.
You fidget a lot. And you don’t normally.
You might think this is a reflection of your energy that just can’t be contained. But it can actually be a symptom of chronic sleep loss. Your body is going into to hyper-drive. Can’t stop moving might mean you need to stop.
Everyone else sucks. What is their problem?!?!
The line, “it’s not me, it’s YOU” might be applicable here. True, that person in front of you at the cash register who is having trouble getting their Duke card to swipe correctly? They could be a jerk. But the likelihood that you have a short fuse because you didn’t sleep well last night? Likelier.
You want all the carbs, carbs, glorious carbs.
There is nothing wrong with carbs. But if you’re sleep deprived, then your body is trying to snatch up “easy” energy, i.e. carbohydrates, rather than a mixture of carbs, proteins and fats. Our hormones also respond and encourage us to gorge on junk food, which is fine every once in a while, but you shouldn’t indulge just because you’re sleep deprived. “Indulge” in sleep, silly. So sleep deprivation ≠ well-balanced diet.
You’re not sick enough to STINF, but you’ve been this sick for weeks.
Headaches, runny nose, cough… phlegm. Your unending source of mucus may actually be from your sleep deprivation. Not enough sleeps lowers your immune system functioning. Wondering what is UP with that bug you have? It’s probably about that sleep you haven’t.
You feel like absolute crap.
No, it’s not actually normal to feel like you’re trudging through mud to get to class. This might sound obvious, but I am shocked to see how few people recognize that their own misery is caused by not enough shut-eye.
If any of this sounds like you, getting some sleep might just be the best thing you could do for yourself. If you're having difficulty sleeping and want some tips, try contacting the Duke Student Wellness Center.