LARRY PENKAVA COLUMN: Overweight? Get more sleep.

If you’re overweight you may be sleep deprived.

Larry Penkava

In fact, sleep deprivation could be a cause of many other of your health problems. According to the website www.sleep-deprivation.com, lack of adequate sleep can result in depression, heart disease, hypertension, irritability, slower reaction times, slurred speech, tremors, hallucinations and even death (sounds like the warning at the end of a pharmaceutical ad).

And if you’re more than 64 years of age, the likelihood that you dont get enough quality sleep is 50% greater. That’s not exactly an incentive for growing old.

As for the weight thing, the website claims that lack of sleep can reduce levels of the hormone leptin, which affects our feelings of fullness and satisfaction after a meal. On the other hand, sleep deprivation can increase your level of the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates appetite.

The end result: you wake up hungry and eat all day without being satisfied.

The gist of this educational discussion is that if you get adequate sleep you’ll be in a better mood, feel healthier and become slimmer while depriving yourself of Colbert, Kimmel and Fallon.

But how much sleep is enough? It depends on the individual. Some can function with six hours sleep a night while others need eight or nine to feel vibrant.

Teenagers, on the other hand, can be crabby with 10 or more hours of sleep every night. But that’s another column.

There are ways of determining if you’re getting enough sleep. I’ve studied the problem deeply and have come up with some little-known signs that you’re lacking sufficient somnolence.

You may be sleep deprived if:

1. You become weepy listening to Marty Robbins singing “El Paso.” Granted, it’s a sad song but, come on, Felina was just a dance hall girl.

2. All of a sudden you realize you’re in a staff meeting about safety on the job, not cavorting on the beach at Cancun. And that’s stale coffee in your mug, not a tropical sunrise.

3. The semi coming toward you in the wrong lane is, well, actually in the right lane.

4. You settle in your recliner to watch “Wheel of Fortune” and next thing you know everybody’s saying, “Good Morning America.”

5. Sitting in your car in the driveway with the motor still running, you remember leaving work. You haven’t a clue what happened between the office and home.

6. The book you’re trying to read keeps waking you up as it hits the floor — six times in the past 10 minutes.

7. You rest your eyes for just a moment, only to wake up with eye boogers.

8. You think you hear noises in your head, then realize it’s the real world imposing itself on your consciousness.

9. The alarm clock goes off and you’re WAY not ready to get up.

10. You sleep like a horse — standing up.

11. You and your spouse hold yawning contests.

12. Your greatest weight gain is in your eyelids.

13. You get more sleep during daylight hours and take more afternoon naps than your 2-year-old grandchild.

14. That once loveable grandchild complains that you’re a grumpy old man.

15. You have a dream that you’re in the midst of beautiful flowers, then realize you’re wide awake staring at the wallpaper.

16. Instead of REM sleep when you dream, you use your time in bed to fret about things you have no control over.

17. You’re asked to sign your name and you draw a blank.

18. You forgot where you left your keys, then remember, “That’s why I went to the bedroom.”

Larry Penkava is a writer for Randolph Hub. Contact: 336-302-2189, larrypenkava@gmail.com.