How sleep affects your mental health
What’s the buzz about mental health?
Mental health is a huge topic at the moment. Awareness of mental health conditions is on the increase and some companies actively promote mental health days. This is when staff are encouraged to take time off work to nourish their mental health. They are given time to focus solely on their wellbeing. Taking special time for yourself can help prevent burnout at work.
Research is being done to uncover more about the link between sleep and mental health. But most of us are aware that lack of sleep has a negative impact on our wellbeing.
Sleep and mental health conditions
Lack of sleep can either cause, or be affected by, a number of mental health conditions.
Depression can cause difficulty with sleep and insomnia. Some research suggests that people suffering from insomnia are twice as likely to develop depression.
When you suffer from depression, it can also lead to over sleeping. Too much sleep can negatively affect you by worsening the symptoms of depression.Trying to maintain a sleep routine can help. Consistency is key! So set your alarm to wake up and don’t hit the snooze button - however tempting it might seem.
Sleep disturbances are common if you are experiencing an anxiety-related condition. Constant worries and over thinking mean your brain is never ready to switch off. This makes it difficult to fall asleep at night and dreamland becomes an unattainable destination.
When you feel anxious before sleep, don’t just lie in bed and wait for rest to magically descend upon you. It doesn’t really work like that. Try getting up and doing something else for a bit. Try reading a book or something else relaxing. When you start to feel drowsy, head back to bed.
Sleep disturbance is a characteristic symptom of bipolar disorder. During a manic episode, you don’t need as much sleep. During a depressive episode you are likely to sleep more.
This irregular sleep-wake cycle negatively impacts your daily life. Lack of sleep can affect your mood, your cognitive functioning and your enjoyment of life.
ADHD or attention deficit hyperactive disorder can mean sleep is more elusive. Having mental or physical restlessness makes it super difficult to get adequate snooze time. Both falling asleep at night and remaining asleep are affected. So feeling tired during the day because of disturbed sleep is really common.
Even if you don’t have a mental health condition, it doesn’t mean you have good mental health. In today’s fast-paced hustle and bustle society, maintaining good mental health is increasingly difficult.
What does it mean to have good mental health?
Mental health fluctuates over time. Sometimes you’re feeling on top of the world and other times you’re totally down in the dumps.
When you have good mental health you are more resilient and can handle whatever life throws at you. You feel generally positive about life and confident you can work towards your dreams.
These are some other characteristics of good mental health:
- You enjoy taking part in a range of activities
- You can feel and express a range of emotions
- You have healthy relationships with other people
- You feel good about yourself and your choices
- You cope well with challenges
- You have a stable sleep pattern
It’s also worth remembering that you don’t have to feel super positive all the time. Experiencing down days is perfectly normal.
Why is sleep important?
A third of adults in the US aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep each night.
Sleep is vital and necessary for your body and mind to function at their best. When you don’t get enough sleep - or enough good quality sleep - it negatively impacts your wellbeing.
Not sleeping enough makes you feel snappy and irritable in the short term. But not sleeping well over a longer period can have a damaging impact on your health. Heart disease and depression are just two of the possible long-term consequences.
What happens when you don’t get enough sleep?
The consequences of not getting enough zzz’s include:
- Forgetting things and struggling to recall information
- Feeling super tired during the day and craving a power nap
- Slower reaction times
- Lack of libido
- Totally craving junk food
- Moody behaviour and irritability
How to sleep better for your mental health
When your sleep routine is all out of whack, your internal body clock is affected. Your body clock is also called your circadian rhythm. It operates on a 24 hour cycle and decides whether you should be asleep or awake.
Poor mental health can throw you off balance and your body clock won’t get reset properly. Studies have shown that improving sleep leads to better mental health.
So what can you do about it?
Set up a sleep routine
Be strong and set yourself up with a sleep routine. This helps to get your body clock back on track. Go to bed at the same time every night. Then set your alarm for the same time every morning. And no pressing the snooze button!
Create a relaxing environment
Your bedroom should be a haven of peace and tranquillity. A place reserved for winding down and relaxation. Use the power of plants by diffusing some essential oils The scent of lavender is guaranteed to have you drifting off to dreamland in no time. There are other essential oils that are used for their calming effects.
Don’t opt for caffeine in the hours leading up to bedtime. Nicotine is another substance to avoid. They both send a message to the brain that it’s not sleep time and you will have even more trouble switching off your busy brain.
Get your exercise routine right
There's no denying the amazing benefits of exercise on mental health. It is a brilliant stress buster. But if you exercise less than three hours before bed, you won’t be able to relax. The chemicals your body produces will keep you alert and this disrupts your sleep.
Embrace the darkness
If you want to reset your rhythm, you need to work with the light and dark. Get adequate sunlight during the day, then avoid bright lights at night. This means avoiding screens at least an hour before you plan to sleep - so no Netflix or scrolling Insta.
Your health and wellbeing are paramount. A sure fire way to improve your mental health is to get some good quality sleep. Ditch the all-nighters and learn to love lounging instead. It will positively impact your mind and body.
To feel super chilled and ready to drift into dreamland, try our fabulous ripple+ Dream. The potent power of plants will gently soothe you into slumber.