Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Dangers of Losing Zzz's

by: Nicolette Romero

Occasional sleepless nights are okay, but if dozing off is becoming a recurring problem, watch out for the following signs of sleep deprivation:

Weight gain

Experts say that sleep loss lowers leptin levels, which causes an increase in hunger. This can result in weight gain if the person reacts to the hunger by consuming food at night (such as midnight snacks) when the body’s metabolism has slowed down.

Mood swings

Has everyone been getting on your nerves lately? Without sufficient rest, your stress and anxiety levels rise, causing you to become irritable and short-tempered-even with yourself. Try passing up on the occasional work night’s gimik. Save your partying for days when you can sleep in.

Brain static

Although your brain works harder to counteract the effects of sleep loss, it can’t function as effectively. If you’re having a hard time concentrating at work or can’t impress your boss with your usual wit and charm, it may be time to consider getting some much-needed shut eye.

Poor immune system

Adequate rest and a properly functioning immune system are closely related. If you’ve got your doctor on speed dial, take a look at how your lifestyle may be affecting your health. The more sleep-deprived you are, the greater your chance for contracting infections.

Driver Fatigue

The fewer hours of rest you get, the greater your chances are of meeting a car accident. If cabbing it isn’t an option, arrange for a car pool at work or get a friend to ride with you. Driving alone? Open the windows to let some fresh air in, or listen to your fave CD and sing a la Britney to perk yourself up.

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