Have you heard of the impact of sleep on mental health? It affects how long you can wait in a long queue and lead to mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.
For sound sleep, you need a sound mind. And it turns out, it’s a two-way relationship.
Impact of Sleep on Mental Health
1. Emotional Instability and Stress
Have you ever woken up on the wrong side of the bed? The idiom might actually be backed by science.
Sleep deprivation might tear away our ability to deal with stressful situations. You may grow more impatient and on edge, ultimately less tolerant of things that wouldn’t normally bother you.
The simple solution to a stressful day? Sleep it off.
Anxiety and sleep are caught in a vicious cycle.
Insomnia and sleep disorders are marks of anxiety. In fact, lack of sleep is both the cause and symptom of some anxiety disorders.
Sleep deprivation is linked to increased levels of anxiety, depression, and general distress. Even psychologically healthy adults might experience symptoms of anxiety and depression after a night of tossing and turning.
And your mother may have had a point when she said you need to sleep to grow up well.
One study suggests that sleep quality can predict the likelihood of mental health issues in children. Sleep issues like restless sleep and difficulty sleeping might increase the risk of developing mental health issues like generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and oppositional defiant disorder.
Depression and insomnia share a cause-and-effect relationship, providing more evidence that the saying happiness is getting enough sleep holds true.
Sleep disorders that are symptoms of depression include hypersomnia, insomnia, and sleep apnea, with insomnia being the most common.
And now, it is being investigated as a precursor to depression.
When it comes to depression and insomnia, scientists suspect a chicken-and-egg relationship. Because of this, it’s growing more difficult to determine which is the effect and the cause.
Don’t wait before you exhibit signs of mental health issues. If you have trouble sleeping, visit your doctor or take a sleep test.
4. Bipolar Disorder
Lack of sleep may cause episodes in people with bipolar disorder.
But it’s not clear yet if poor sleep can cause the development of bipolar disorder.
With growing evidence of the impact of sleep on mental health, doctors are looking to sleep as a form of treatment.
Why Your Brain Needs Sleep
Sleep is more than food to your brain.
Your stomach can wait a while before it gets its fill. But a sleep-deprived brain can force itself to sleep.
Have you ever dozed off during a meeting? Barely able to keep your eyes open while on the road? Struggling to sit through a five-hour documentary on the impact of sleep on mental health?
This is how your brain makes sure you get some sleep when you need it most.
Sleeping is your brain’s opportunity to spring clean, sort through the recyclables, organize work files, and sort through your memories and emotions.
Imagine cramming all those tasks into three hours or whatever your schedule will allow you. It will be extremely different to accomplish these tasks well. And what this means to your body is poor brain function.
There are specific tasks other than normal brain functions that your brain cells can only do while you’re on your 1000th sheep.
Do you understand it now?
Poor sleep or sleep deprivation could lead to:
- Poor cognitive function
- Negative mood
- Lack of focus
- Lower tolerance of daily stressors
- Poor memory
The negative impacts of sleep deprivation go beyond mental health. It affects tissue in your body, can lead to heart disease, obesity, and your immune system.
Now, are you convinced that sleep isn’t just a way to kill time? Speaking of time, just how much of it does your brain need to sleep?
How Many Hours of Sleep Do I Need?
Your age, health, and daily activity level determine how much sleep you need at night.
But generally, adults need between seven to eight hours of sleep each night. As you age, you tend to sleep less.
If seven to eight hours doesn’t sound true to life, there are many things you can do to fall asleep faster and enjoy deep, restful, uninterrupted sleep.
Have you ever heard of sleep hygiene?
Improving Mental Health and Sleep with Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygienes are habits and practices you can do to improve the quality and duration of your sleep.
1. Follow a Sleep Schedule
Mornings and afternoons are for studies, work, and family. But when the sun has sunk, it’s bedtime.
Establish a bedtime that you can follow both on weekends and weekdays. Sticking to this schedule will help set the habit of getting enough sleep every night.
2. Make Sure You Get 7-8 Hours of Sleep
Work backward when timing your sleep. This will make sure you get your required seven to eight hours of sleep.
If you set your alarm for 6 AM, hit the hay by 9:30 PM. You should be off to dreamland by 10 PM.
3. Get In Bed When You’re Sleepy
This may help cement in your mind that the bed is meant for sleep. Hop into bed when your eyes begin to feel heavy.
And don’t when you’re not.
If after 15 minutes you still can’t fall asleep, get out of bed. Visit the toilet or sip on a hot cup of tea. Read a light book or practice mindfulness meditation.
But make sure not to work on anything that could stimulate your mind and jolt you out of your sleepy state.
Do everything in the calm of the dark.
4. Plan a Whole Bedtime Regimen
If you can’t count on counting sheep, plan ahead.
For those that have trouble sleeping, make necessary preparations that can help prepare you for bedtime. These include winding down activities that may get you in the right headspace for bedtime.
Paint the room with a calming lavender scent if that de-stresses you.
If you can’t count on a sheep, count on a cow. A cup of hot milk might relax and prepare you for bed.
Different tricks will work for different sleepers. Others might need absolute silence, while some might enjoy ambient sounds.
It may take some trial and error to perfect your potion.
5. The Boudoir Is Only for Sleep and Sleeping with Your Partner
Reserve your room for rest and relaxation (and intimacy).
When you make a habit of doing awake activities in your bed, your mind links active, stimulating activities to your bed.
Your mind should associate your bed with sleep and nothing else. If you’re a fan of Netflix and chill, limit it to the couch in your living room.
6. Create the Perfect Sleeping Environment
Prepare a bedtime routine that could help put you in sleep mode.
Choose smooth and plush beddings that make your bed extra comfortable and inviting. A cool room also contributes to restful sleep. Low lights can set the tone for bedtime and let your body know when it’s time to wind down and rest.
And of course, invest in a world-class mattress.
7. No Gadgets before Bed
The light from your phone is notorious for waking you. And the apps in them are infamous for keeping you up.
If you have a television in your bedroom, shut down temptation and unplug it before bed.
8. Enjoy a Light Dinner
Your breakfast should be your heaviest meal. It will fuel you for the day, and your body will have enough time to burn the calories you consumed.
Dinners should be light and easy on the stomach. After your meal, give your body enough time to digest before you plop into bed.
9. Schedule Your Cups of Coffee
Avoid coffee in the afternoons and evenings.
The last things you want during bedtime are tired eyes and a buzzed mind.
If you like to sip on something at night, enjoy a steaming cup of chamomile tea. Lavender and lemon balm tea are also popular for their soothing effects.
10. Avoid Alcohol in the Evening
A glass of wine may help lull you to sleep, but it may contribute to poor sleep quality. You might find yourself falling asleep easily, but it may not help you achieve deep and undisturbed sleep.
In fact, the opposite may come true.
And excessive alcohol might actually lead to insomnia and worsen symptoms of sleep apnea.
11. Avoid Drinking Before Bedtime
We already covered coffee and alcohol. This time, we mean lessening any fluid intake before bedtime.
Hardly anything can wake a healthy sleeper. But the call of nature knows no time.
Why sleep when you can spend your time doing more productive tasks? Sleep may help you perform better, and the lack of it could lead to poor mental health and a body struggling to keep up.
Good sleeping habits and some innovative mattress mechanics can contribute to restful slumber.
How can Serta help you get some well-deserved shuteye and luxurious sleep?
Serta is an expert in designing cradling, body-contouring mattresses that pamper your muscles. A body at ease can lead to a relaxed mind.
Motion isolating coils will support your movements and serve uninterrupted sleep on a platter. Whether Fido jumped into bed or your sleeping partner tossed and turned restlessly throughout the night, you will never know.