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Why Sleep Matters for Your Mental Health

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Why Sleep Matters for Your Mental Health

Although you may not know it, quality sleep, or lack thereof, is closely connected to your mental health.

In fact, the relationship is a two-way street. Sleep deprivation exacerbates mental health conditions, and those with mental health disorders are more likely to encounter insomnia and other sleep disorders.

Therefore, it is especially important for those with mental health issues to practice ways to improve their ability to fall and stay asleep. First, it’s important that you fully understand the connection.

How Does Sleep Affect Mental Health?

Sleep disruption negatively affects neurotransmitters and stress hormones, impairing thinking and regulation of emotions. This can amplify psychiatric disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and ADHD.

The direct effects may differ depending on your condition. The following breaks down how losing sleep may affect individuals differently:

Depression

Depressed patients with prolonged insomnia are less likely to respond well to treatment and are at greater risk of a relapse. In addition, they are more likely to think about or die by suicide.

Bipolar Disorder

A high majority of patients with bipolar disorder report experiencing insomnia during a manic episode, and it is common for bipolar patients to experience insomnia prior to a manic episode. This suggests that lack of sleep can trigger a manic episode.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, panic disorder, OCD, and phobias. Those with anxiety disorders take longer to fall asleep and sleep less deeply. In turn, sleep deprivation can worsen symptoms of anxiety disorders, hampering recovery.

ADHD

It’s often difficult to determine, due to the overlap of ADHD and sleeping difficulty symptoms, where one starts and the other begins. However, those who suffer from ADHD are much more likely to experience sleep disorders.

Restorative sleep can be effective for improving or preventing symptoms of mental health disorders. During what is known as slow-wave sleep, brain waves slow down and enlarge. This type of sleep is crucial for both physical and emotional restoration and helps to reduce stress.

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If you’re in need of better sleep, the following tips may be helpful to you.

Optimize Your Bedroom

The level of comfort and ambiance in your bedroom can play a big factor in how quickly you fall asleep and how long you stay asleep. Designing your bedroom for better sleep can be a large task, but if you take it one step at a time, you’ll have a dream bedroom in no time.

First, consider light and noise distractions. Block out the light with thick, blackout curtains, and silence nighttime disruptions with white noise or another type of sound machine that provides calming noise for sleep.

Next, think about the overall tone of the room. Set the mood with relaxing paint colors and an essential oil diffuser with lavender, cedarwood, or chamomile to promote sleep. Finally, dig down to the root of most sleep issues: your mattress. Look for a more comfortable bed that offers you the support you need for better sleep, then dress it up in cozy bedding so you get your best night’s sleep each night.

Establish Self-Care Routines

It is very important to develop self-care routines that will help your body and mind to be ready for a good night’s rest. Everyone’s version of self-care differs, but a few faithful steps will set you up for great sleep.

Start by turning off the tech around you. It stimulates your brain through blue light exposure, so you’ll want to avoid phones, televisions, and other screens in the last few hours before bedtime.

Then find ways to relax your mind. This may include some meditation, a quick yoga flow, or reading a book. Finally, find ways to relax your body for better sleep. A warm bath is always a great start to full-body relaxation. You could also consider stretching out your tight muscles or some specific yoga stretches that are known for being optimal right before bedtime.

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Remember to always nourish your mind and soul with self-care, even when life gets busy. If you at least take the time before bedtime to dedicate to your own well-being, you’ll be a step in the right direction.

Develop a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Your body has an amazing way of regulating itself to healthy patterns. One way your body can do this is by getting used to regular sleeping habits, such as what times you wake up and go to bed. If you are consistent with these times, your body will automatically begin to wind down when it is bedtime and become accustomed to the 7-8 hours that you are committing to sleep.

Quality sleep is important for everyone, especially for those suffering from their own mental health. Without proper rest, mental health conditions can worsen or even become fatal. In turn, quality sleep can prevent the worsening of symptoms or improve them, ultimately improving the quality of life.

Be sure to check in with yourself and your well-being often. If you experience difficulties sleeping or with your mental health, consult with a licensed practitioner to find the best treatment methods for you.

AUTHOR BIO

Avery Bullock is a self-starting writer at the beginning of their career. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, he is working full-time while going through school for a Marketing degree. Hoping to have a career in writing and content creation, he is always open to opportunities to expand his portfolio and help fellow content creators. If you liked this post, please contact  averybullockwrites@gmail.com for more posts like this!

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  1. Sleep also repairs your brain at night. When you lack sleep, it’s harder for you to learn, make decisions and solve problems. If you do not get enough sleep over time, your mental health can deteriorate.

  2. Being in tune with your body is the best thing you can do for your health and happiness

  3. Mental disorders are characterized by problems that people experience with their mind and their mood. They are not well understood in terms of their causes, but the symptoms of mental illness are scientifically valid and well known.

  4. Sondra M Sondra M

    Lately, I have been under a lot of stress.  In turn, this is caused me to have problems sleeping.  Then when I have not gotten a good night’s sleep, I am even more stressed the next day.  

    This article has helped me identify one of the “mistakes” that I have been making.   For a few weeks, I got on a pretty good sleep routine.  Yet, this week I messed it up by spending time on the computer in the evenings.   As result, it is taking an extra three hours to get to bed.   I am glad you pointed out that is something we should avoid doing at night before bed.  

  5. My Daily Pointers My Daily Pointers

    I, too, have written some articles on sleep and their importance not only to your mental health but physical as well.

    I am firm believer in the importance of sleep and wonder how many diseases, disorders, or ailments would be avoided or even disappear if we, as a society, would learn to dial things back a bit and learn to rest properly.  We are in a world that demands so much but unfortunately at the expense of our health.  Which consequently costs more in our health care system as well as personal relationships.

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