With sleep deprivation reaching epidemic proportions in the United States, health advocates and sleep specialists are sounding the alarm and letting us all know that we need to be making sleep a much higher priority in our lives. Unfortunately, the feeling of being tired all the time has become so familiar that many of us may not even realize that we are suffering from daytime fatigue. In fact, it has been scientifically proven that one of the biggest risk factors in sleep deprivation comes from the fact that people who are suffering from it are unaware of it, and may feel perfectly fine getting behind the wheel of a vehicle or making big decisions with too little rest. There are a number of warning signs that you body sends to let you know that you’re in need of more rest. Some of them are obvious, like falling asleep during the day or having a hard time remembering things. Others may not be so obvious. Here are a few of the more subtle signs that your body may be sending to let you know that you need to be getting to bed earlier. [caption id="attachment_797" align="alignleft" width="300"] Sleep deprivation can have immediate impacts on your appearance, as well as long term health effects. Bottom line, get 7-9 hours of sleep[/caption] 1. Dull Skin When they talk about getting your beauty sleep, the experts aren’t kidding. Sleep is essential for healthy skin. Getting the rest you need increases the ability of your beauty products to work, while not getting enough sleep actually damages your skin. It increases the levels of stress hormones in the body, and that can lead to wrinkles and acne. It also reduces your skin’s hydration. Poor sleep habits have been directly linked to skin sensitivity, and reduces your body’s ability to protect the skin from the sun’s UV rays and chemical pollutants and irritants. 2. More Wrinkles People worry that sleeping on wrinkled sheets or pillowcases can lead to wrinkles, but they should spend more time worrying about what lack of sleep is doing to their skin. Anti-aging research has shown that lack of sleep speeds up the aging of our skin. It makes our levels of human growth hormone fall, thus leading to sagging skin. Human growth hormone builds the strength and thickness of our skin, making us look more youthful. 3. Break Outs Lack of sleep triggers your adrenal glands, leading to more oil being produced. When you combine this with the dryness that tends to come with lack of sleep, it means that your pores are going to get clogged more easily, and you’re going to see far more breakouts. 4. Bags Under Your Eyes Nothing makes you look more tired than puffy eyes, and they come from retaining water. When your body is stressed by lack of sleep it produces cortisol, and since the skin under your eyelids is so thin, that’s where you’re going to see the resulting water retention. 5. Weight Gain Study after study shows that when you’re sleep deprived, it shifts your metabolism into a lower-functioning mode and makes you more likely to eat more. Lack of sleep also makes you choose the foods that are the worst for you nutritionally. The bottom line is that getting enough sleep will make you feel better, look better, and live a more healthy life. Make getting seven to nine hours of sleep every night a top priority.