How to Tell When You’re Getting Enough Sleep
So, if we can’t trust a simple number to tell us how much sleep we need, how can we tell? The answer is that we simply need to put more trust in our bodies. Modern life tends to run by strict schedules, but often these strict schedules are harmful to our health and happiness. Nowhere might that be more true than when it comes to sleep.
A recent study looked at sleep and cardiovascular risk. It divided people into four categories of sleep: good sleepers, nappers, dissatisfied/inefficient sleepers, and irregular sleepers. Compared to so-called good sleepers, nappers might have a higher risk of cardiovascular conditions, and dissatisfied/inefficient sleepers showed a significant increase in cardiovascular risks. However, irregular sleepers had no elevated risk. Being an irregular sleeper doesn’t signal risk, but being a dissatisfied sleeper does.
Instead of worrying about how many hours you sleep, you should keep an eye out for symptoms that you’re not getting enough sleep, including:
- Always needing an alarm or other help to get up
- Falling asleep at work or when driving
- Relying heavily on caffeinated beverages to stay awake
- Difficulty thinking or remembering
- Depression or irritability
You should also watch for symptoms related to sleep apnea, including:
- Loud snoring
- Gasping or choking when you wake up
- Waking up frequently to urinate at night
- High blood pressure (especially if it doesn’t respond to medication)
- Morning headaches
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
If you have these as well as feeling sleepy during the day, you might have sleep apnea. Talk to an Omaha sleep dentist or sleep doctor to get tested.