Sleep Disorders

Updated 31 July 2015

How too little sleep and a bad diet can affect your health

Sometimes your body is trying to tell you something - such as that it is suffering from a vitamin shortage, that it's not getting enough sleep, or that your diet is completely wrong. Check out these 13 things that your body might be trying to tell you.

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Sometimes your body is trying to tell you something - such as that it is suffering from a vitamin shortage, that it's not getting enough sleep and that it's really sick and tired of hamburgers and chips.

We tend to notice the big things, such as migraines and terrible leg cramps or constant diarrhoea. But little things easily pass us by.

It isn't always easy to know how to interpret these signals that your body is giving you.

In fact, sometimes you could be struggling with something for years without knowing what it is your body is trying to tell you.

These are often not life-threatening things, but mildly irritating and constant things, such as a few mouth ulcers, or brittle nails or a greasy skin.

What are these signs your body is giving you, and what does it need you to eat to rectify the situation?

Check out this quick guide below.

Signs or symptomsPossible deficienciesFoods to eat
brittle or split nailsiron, zinc, essential fatty acidsmeat, legumes, fish
dry eyesvitamin A, essential fatty acidsdairy products, green, yellow and orange fruit, vegetables
cracked corners of the mouthiron, vitamins B12, B6, folic acidmeat, legumes, dairy products, green vegetables
mouth ulcersiron, vitamins B12, B6, folic acidmeat, legumes, dairy products, green vegetables
cracked lipsvitamin B2dairy products, meat
enlarged taste budsvitamins B2 or B6dairy products, meat, fish, poultry
red greasy skin on facevitamins B2, B6, zinc or essential fatty acidsdairy products, meat, fish, poultry, shellfish
pimples on upper arms and thighsvitamin B complex, vitamin E, essential fatty acidsanimal products, fortified cereals, poultry, seafood
poor hair growthiron or zincmeat, legumes, dairy, shellfish
dandruffvitamins C, B6, zinc, essential fatty acidscitrus fruits, meat, fish, poultry, dairy products
acnezincdairy products, shellfish
bloodshot eyesvitamins A, B2dairy products, green, yellow and orange fruit, vegetables, meat
slow wound healingzincdairy products, shellfish
depressionvitamin B6meat, fish, poultry

(Information from Every Woman's Health Guide by Maryon Stewart and Dr Alan Stewart)

Read more in Health24's extensive vitamin and mineral guide.

 

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Sleep disorders expert

Dr Alison Bentley is a general practitioner who has consulted in sleep medicine and sleep disorders, in both adults and children of all ages, for almost 30 years. She also researches and publishes on a number of sleep-related topics both in formal research journals and lay publications including as editor of Sleep Matters, an educational newsletter on sleep disorders for doctors.

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