The Impact of Sleep on Mental Health
There is no denying that the impact of sleep on mental health is vastly significant, and all of those people telling you to get a normal sleep regimen are very much on to something. Sleep has a massive role to play in how we feel both physically and mentally, and poor sleeping habits can lead to many undesired symptoms and even certain mental conditions.
We all know the difficulties that come with sleep—from busy work schedules, family and life commitments, and social excursions, getting the proper seven or eight hours of sleep each night can be tricky. To stress the importance of a proper routine, it helps to examine the correlation between sleep hygiene and mental health.
Sleep Hygiene and Mental Health
To accurately analyze the relationship between sleep hygiene and mental health, let’s first take a look at the importance of a good sleep routine. Sleep plays a vital role in recharging the brain at the end of each day, just like how we charge a cell phone after extended use. Maintaining a regular sleep cycle allows the natural rhythm of the body to reset every day, optimizing brain functions and improving overall mental health.
Proper sleep also just makes us feel better as a whole. Our physical bodies are able to rest appropriately with a healthy routine, and we can wake up feeling recharged and energized. A healthy body promotes a healthy mind, and getting the necessary sleep can begin to shape everything into order.
Effects of Poor Sleeping Habits
Ongoing periods of poor sleeping habits can lead to both psychological and physical health issues in many ways. Some psychological symptoms and effects of improper sleep hygiene include:
- Low mood
- Erratic behavior
- Worsened cognitive functioning and performance (forgetfulness, making mistakes and sluggish thinking)
- Psychotic episodes
The physical symptoms associated with poor sleep habits include:
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Elevation in blood pressure and stress hormones
- Negative effects on cardiovascular health (increased risk of heart attacks and strokes)
- Immune damage which can lead to many physical problems
Can Lack of Sleep Cause Anxiety?
Lack of sleep can without a doubt lead to anxiety, both psychologically and physically. Increased worrying can often arise, and many physical symptoms related to anxiety can manifest. Poor sleep can also exacerbate already existing symptoms of anxiety and increase the severity of insomnia.
Can Lack of Sleep Cause Depression?
Ongoing poor sleep can be a huge risk factor for the development of major depressive disorder. An analysis of 21 different studies also found that people who experience insomnia are at twice the risk of developing depression over those who do not have problems sleeping. Since the risk of feeling depressed and/or anxious increases with the severity of insomnia, it is important to recognize sleep problems as soon as they are identified.
How to Improve Sleeping Habits
There are many ways to improve sleeping habits, and a good amount of them are lifestyle choices that improve the ability to fall asleep and establish a healthy routine. Here are some of the most important steps to improve poor sleeping habits for better mental health:
- Establish a regular sleep-wake cycle – going to sleep and waking at regular times consistently is a sure way to promote a healthier sleep routine
- Limit the use of stimulants – caffeine, nicotine and alcohol near bed time all have negative effects on how we fall and stay asleep
- Avoid electronic devices at night – the bright light from computers, cell phones, tablets, and other devices at night can be overly stimulating and keep you awake
- Create a comfortable atmosphere – noise, light, and temperature can all play a role in how we fall asleep, so matching these to your preferences helps significantly
- Go to bed when you’re actually tired – laying in bed when you’re not feeling tired or unable to sleep can make problems worse, and it’s always best to go to bed when you’re feeling drowsy
- Regular daily exercise – a good exercise routine can help make you feel tired when it’s time to go to bed. It also promotes a healthy physical self, attributing to a better cycle
Knowing Signs and Seeking Treatment
While a poor sleep routine can be fixed with some lifestyle changes and a will to address the issue, many of the unwanted conditions associated, such as depression and anxiety, may be cause for further evaluation and treatment. Understanding the signs and symptoms is always the first step, but if you or someone you know is experiencing these conditions as a result of sleeping habits, seeking treatment is always the option to take.
Synergy Health Programs is among the leaders in comprehensive mental health services for individuals looking to manage and overcome these conditions. Our tailored programs help patients overcome mental and behavioral struggles, in addition to substance use.
Contact Retreat Synergy today for information on how you or your loved one can start getting compassionate and effective mental health care.