A lot of our content focuses on what not getting enough sleep looks like, which is important because a majority of people do not. However, it's also important to know what the signs are if you are getting enough sleep because you probably are practicing some positive habits that you should aim to maintain.
Below, we are going to discuss signs that you're getting enough sleep, and if you recognize them, then continue doing what you're doing (if it's healthy). If you do not have any, or many, of the signs below, then you may need to make some adjustments to improve your sleep.
Why getting enough sleep is important
Sleep is vital to our health, even if sometimes we treat it as something that we can live with or without. The bottom line is sleep is a non-negotiable, and just because you or someone else has been functioning on low hours of sleep, doesn't mean that it's a good thing.
Getting enough sleep is important for both the mind, brain and body. Sleep deprivation can negatively impact mood - creating more irritability, depression, anxiety, and other negative coping skills to deal with the day-to-day fluctuations. The brain needs sleep to consolidate memories, release proper hormones for vital functions, and have energy to focus and be present during the day. Without sleep, our memories are negatively impacted, it's hard to concentrate, and our brains' only focus is functioning at the baseline level to keep us alive.
Our bodies definitely need sleep. One of the main reasons is that is when growth and repair happen. Our bodies take a beating throughout the day, and it is at night when they are able to replace dead cells, repair damaged tissues, and get ready for another day. That is also the time when all of the organs shut down and our blood pressure and temperature drop. Without this period of reduction, we are at high risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and metabolic disorders like diabetes.
Signs you're getting enough sleep
Sometimes, it can be hard to tell if we are getting enough sleep. The occasional spell of yawns throughout the day or the low energy at night may convince us that we are not getting enough sleep. However, it's normal to have dips in the day of low energy. Cortisol, the stress hormone, fluctuates throughout the day, and dips around lunch time and throughout the night. Therefore, feeling tired in the middle of the day isn't a sign that you're not getting enough sleep. However, if you are excessively tired - can't keep your eyes open of focus on anything - then that may be a sign of sleep deprivation.
Below are six signs that you're getting enough sleep, and if many of these things describe you, then you probably have a solid sleep routine!
You wake up without an alarm
If you wake up at around the same time every morning, without an alarm, then that means you've got a pretty regular sleep routine that your body has adjusted to. Your natural clock knows when it's time to go to bed and when it's time to wake up, independent of any alarms.
If you don't have to force yourself to wake up to the sound of your alarm, then you probably had a really good night of rest and your body is ready to take on the day. If you are well rested, you wake up on your own. Only when you are exhausted do you find yourself hitting the snooze button repeatedly and struggling to open your eyes.
You don't need a caffeine boost
Caffeine is a stimulating chemical that is in coffees, energy drinks, teas, and even some sodas. It's intended to wake up the brain and stimulate your attention. If you need caffeine everyday just to function, then you either are not getting enough sleep and/or have become dependent on it.
However, if you are able to make it through the day without feeling the need for a caffeine boost, then you are probably well rested and don't have to overcome any excessive tiredness.
You maintain your weight
Weight gain and sleep deprivation go hand in hand. It's very hard to maintain a good weight because many of the metabolic processes that happen during sleep, don't when you aren't getting any. This is why sleep deprivation increases the risk or worsens the state of diabetes. If you are trying to lose weight, then sleep is definitely a good place to start.
If you are maintaining your weight, however, then that is a good sign that you are getting enough sleep. Even if you aren't dieting like you hoped or going to the gym everyday, you may still be losing or maintaining your weight thanks to sleep. In addition to that, when we are sleeping well, our insulin production is regulated, which can help with feelings of satiety and decrease cravings, leading to better food choices.
Your skin is clear and glowing
There are links between lack of sleep, stress, and acne. Stress is increased when you lose sleep which can increase cortisol release and lead to breakouts. Stress also increases inflammation and impairs your immune system, making it harder to clean out that bacteria in your pores that can lead to breakouts and flushing.
Dark circles are also very common in those who aren't getting their sleep, because of the lack of drainage from the vessels around your eyes. Getting good sleep decreases your stress levels, increases your ability to fight off infections and bacteria, and decreases levels of inflammation.
You're in a good mood
Sleep deprivation can really cause our moods to fluctuate. Without proper rest, our brain has a hard time regulating moods, dealing with minor inconveniences, and doing anything other than eating, breathing and avoiding danger. But when you sleep, your brain has a plethora of energy that it can use towards just being in a good mood.
You are less stressed, your mind works better to identify solutions to problems, and there is decreased risk of depression and anxiety with increased sleep. If you are feeling really positive lately and in a great mood, then you're probably getting enough sleep which can definitely boost those positive neurotransmitters.
You don't crave junk food
When you are getting enough sleep, the hormones controlling your appetite and food preferences are regulated. When you are not getting enough sleep, they are all over the place and it makes it really tempting to just grab the candy bar at the grocery store instead of an apple. The cravings for empty calories - sweets, starches, and comfort foods like pizza and french fries - go away when you are getting enough sleep.
If you are trying to diet, and eat healthy but struggle with making good food choices, your sleep may have something to do with it. if you are not having trouble, then sleep may also have something to do with it and you should continue to try and get enough Z's throughout the night.
If you don't experience many of the things on this list, and are struggling to get good sleep and don't know why, then please click the orange button below to talk with one of our sleep health professionals.