Skimping on sleep doesn’t just ruin your morning mood. It can leave far severe effects on your overall health, including your mental health and well-being. Sleep and mental health go hand in hand. Studies show that the lack of enough sleep, no matter what the reason, can increase the risk of cognitive problems, such as anxiety and depression.
While researchers are working to thoroughly slice and dice the impact of sleep on mental health, it has already been found that sleep deprivation can cause considerable damage to the brain. It can disrupt your thinking and reasoning mechanism, triggering mental health problems. Not getting the 7-9 hours of sleep every night can leave adverse effects on your motivation and energy levels, besides affecting your self-esteem and emotions.
Getting enough sleep? Studies show that the lack of enough sleep can increase the risk of cognitive problems, such as anxiety and depression.
Here’re the top ways sleep can affect your mental health:
Depression and Sleep
Many people don’t realize that the lack of sleep and depression are closely linked. Sleep deprivation is a leading cause of having negative emotional energy levels. The lack of sleep or not getting quality sleep over time can chip away at your mood and cognitive health. Constant irritability, loss of enthusiasm, stress anxiety, sadness, and the feeling of emptiness are symptoms that sleep deprivation is causing depression. The long-term presence of these signs can affect not only your mental well-being but also your relationships with others.
Studies indicate that people having insomnia are more at risk of being depressed than those who get enough sleep. Clinical depression is common among people with insomnia, and they are more at risk of getting clinical anxiety and related mental health problems. Furthermore, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep disorder whereby the affected individual wakes up briefly several times throughout the night, has been found to be a leading cause of depression. Diagnosing and treating depression can help improve sleep for many people.
Sleep and Anxiety Disorder
It can be hard to determine whether the lack of sleep is causing an anxiety disorder or vice versa. It might be a sleep disorder that is causing anxiety or anxiety that is causing sleep disorder. Many different factors can affect your psychological and emotional health, causing sleep problems. The relationship between sleep and anxiety disorder is bidirectional. The presence of one can make the other worse, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
If you have started having persistent sleep problems, so much that it has become insomnia, it can trigger anxiety or worsen an existing anxiety disorder. When this happens, you can even experience severe sleep problems. Addressing one of the symptoms can help eliminate or reduce the severity of the other.
For example, if it turns out that poor sleep is the cause of your anxiety, you can cope with the condition by improving your sleep pattern, time, and quality. On the other hand, if anxiety is responsible for your lack of sleep, getting treatment for anxiety can help you sleep better. What this means is that improvement in one area can help improve the other.
Sleep and Behavior
Since our lives are so busy, we don’t always get enough time for self-care. It is important to accept the fact that sleep and mental well-being, which shape your behavior, are closely associated. When you are exhausted after a long day at work, you need rest to reenergize and stabilize your mind. However, most people skip activities that are essential for their mental well-being. You may spend time watching your favorite show or doing chores at home. By doing so, you are depriving your body and mind of the rest they need.
There is a very close relationship between sleep, mood, and behavior. The lack of sleep can affect your behavior and relations with others. Think about the last time you had a worse sleep. How did you feel at work the following day? Were you full of energy, excited, and motivated? Chances are, you were feeling grumpy, irritated, and even stressed.
The lack of a fixed bedtime schedule can leave adverse effects on your routine functioning. You may feel irritated and get angry at your peers or family members and experience emotional difficulties. To sum it up, lack of sleep can affect your family, social, and professional lives.
Getting better sleep can make a huge difference in your quality of life. In most cases, the treatments for sleep disorders are the same for all people. Here’re some strategies to get a good night’s sleep.
Stay physically active
Exercise is not just good for your physical health and body weight, but it is also beneficial for your mental well-being since it can help you have a better sleep. Studies show that physical activities help us fall asleep quickly and have quality sleep. It is a good idea to do workouts a few hours before bedtime so that the endorphins released during aerobic exercise can wane to provide your brain the right time to relax. Having 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day is enough to help you have a deep sleep.
The bedroom environment is a powerful factor that can determine your sleep time and quality. Maintaining a sleep ritual, using the bedroom only for sleeping and sex, and removing all sorts of distractions can drastically improve your sleep. If you have a computer, television, or other electronics in your bedroom, it’s time to remove them. Make sure your bedroom is quiet and dark, and the bed is comfortable. A room that is too hot or too cold can distract your sleep. Lights can also be an obstacle to sound sleep.
Weighted blankets are known to be a great sleep aid. These blankets are specially designed for creating calming sleep effects. They apply gentle pressure on the user, imitating the feeling of being warmly held. The weight of the blanket helps the body produce more serotonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and creates a peaceful effect. A weighted blanket for adults also catalyzes the generation of oxytocin that helps reduce pain and stress. As a result, the user can have enough and better sleep.
Other strategies that you can use to improve sleep include:
- Deep breathing
- Avoiding heavy meals before bedtime
- Avoiding mentally-intensive work before going to bed
- Using aromatherapy
- Painting your room blue, green, or yellow
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
Using smart strategies to improve your sleep can help you cope with most sleep disorders and improve your psychological health.
As you can tell now, sleep can affect your mental health and well-being in many different ways. The good news is that the above-explained techniques and good sleep hygiene can help you cope with most sleep disorders and improve your psychological health. However, some people suffer from serious sleep disorders that may render these methods ineffective. In such a case, you should consult with a doctor to get a sleep study to diagnose and treat the problem.
Are you getting enough sleep?
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