How Sleep Affects Your Mental Health How Sleep Affects Your Mental Health

How Sleep Affects Your Mental Health

Ever wake up happy and energized after a night full of restless tossing and turning?

No.

That’s because only a great night’s sleep leads to a happy and energy filled day.

Lack of good sleep causes you to be a total grump, dragging through the day with a lack of focus. That is just the start of all the problems lack of sleep can create for you physically and emotionally.

The good news is when you do find that full night of restful sleep, the benefits are wonderful.

Sleep, what is it good for?

Sleep is good for absolutely everything.

During sleep your brain repairs your body, physically and mentally.

It is during sleep, in the deepest stages, that tissues grow and muscles relax and energy is restored. With about 7 hours of really good sleep, your body goes into fix-it mode. Sleep restores hormones, skin cells, liver functions, heart health, and more.

It’s almost like you are a super hero with the power to regenerate, only on a much slower and realistic level. Okay, so it’s not like you are a super hero; but it is still pretty cool.

Poor sleep is associated with a higher risk of mental illness that goes beyond the grumpiness you feel due to a hangover or from staying up too late binge watching The Walking Dead. The next day you will not only feel like a zombie star from The Walking Dead, you will look like one too.

When you don’t get a good dose of sleep, your brain begins to function differently.

It does so in a bad way.

You can see it in your skin like when you have bags under your eyes because of tiredness. You can even see it in your behaviors, like how you yawn all day at work, fall asleep during the team meeting, or drink 25 cups of coffee because you need help in finding the energy to make it through the day.

Lack of sleep can also be related to mental health disorders.

Mental Illness Affects Sleep

Not getting enough sleep does not necessarily lead to a mental illness.

But, sleep problems are common among people suffering from depression, bipolar, anxiety, schizophrenia and attention deficit disorders.

Sleep and mood are directly related. If you get a good night’s sleep, you wake up happy. If you get too little sleep, you wake up irritable. Sleep can enhance your mood, either positively or negatively. If you have been diagnosed with depression and you do not get proper sleep, your depression could become worse.

If you have schizophrenia and lack sleep, this could affect the hallucinations you experience.

It is very important for you to recognize your sleep patterns and if you feel you are not sleeping properly, take the time to make changes.

Insomnia

Insomnia is a symptom of substance abuse, mood, anxiety and psychiatric disorders.

There are different types of insomnia.

It’s important for you to determine if you have acute or chronic insomnia. Acute insomnia is short term while chronic insomnia last for a long time or is recurrent. There is also primary and secondary insomnia. Primary insomnia means you are having problems sleeping but those problems are not related to a health problem.

Secondary insomnia is when your sleeping problems are related to a medical condition you may have such as asthma or heartburn.

Insomnia can slow emotional processing making it hard for mental health treatments to work.

This means recovery can take longer for people who are lacking sleep. For example, if you are a recovering addict, insomnia can make the recovery process more difficult and lead to relapse if not treated. It can also cause further damages.

Damage of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation effects are quite noticeable.

There will be no mistaking it for something else. You will be moody, hungry, and irritable and have a hard time concentrating or staying focused on tasks. Every single thing will get on your nerves and you will find it hard to control your mood swings.

Research has shown that a person losing even one night of sleep can be compared to that of a person who is legally intoxicated person.

And yes, you can get pulled over by the cops for impaired driving due to lack of sleep.

If you are driving erratically due to sleep deprivation, that may be considered reckless driving. Think about it, you could really hurt someone or yourself if you are driving while sleep deprived. Many news stories center on accidents that happened because a driver fell asleep at the wheel.

There has been research studies done on people who go extended periods of time without sleeping.

The longer someone goes without sleep, the more damage is done to that person’s physical and mental state. There have been some to report complete personality changes, from a happy personality to angry personality, and it did not change back to happy even after getting a good amount of sleep.

Sleep deprivation can affect your work abilities also.

What if you are an air traffic controller or a brain surgeon? You need to be the most alert you can be. Or what if you are the guy that watches over the safety button at the nuclear plant? You definitely need to be alert for that job.

Once you figure out how to get good sleep, you will be able to easily implement such techniques into your life and quickly feel the effects of good sleep.

How to Get Good Sleep

There are many strategies you can use to ensure you get a good night’s sleep.

Make sure you do not have a lot of distractions like the television or radio playing. Keep a structured routine. This will help your body get used to when it is supposed to wake up and fall asleep.

Exercising during the day can help you rest better at night but should be done at least three hours before you go to bed. If for some reason you still can’t fall asleep, engage in a relaxing activity such as a warm bath or reading.

Other strategies for good sleep include avoiding alcohol and caffeine.

Also, don’t take naps late in the day and make sure you have a good sleep environment. If you are not having any luck solving your sleep problems after trying several of these techniques, it would be a good idea to meet with a counselor to help you figure out what is really wrong with your sleep patterns.

Talking to a therapist may help you recognize any mental health issues that may be the true culprits to your restless nights. By working through issues related to your mental health, your sleep issues may fix themselves.

Sleep is extremely important. Making sleep a priority in your life will lead to positive outcomes. So put yourself first and get some good rest!