Sleep and its Effect on 4 Mental Health Problems

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Tags – Sleep and Mental Health

It comes as no surprise that sleep plays a critical role in both physical and mental health.

Unfortunately, if you don’t sleep well it’ll leave you feeling exhausted and irritated in the short term, but in the long term it can have some serious consequences.

So not only can sleep deprivation lead to poor mental health, existing mental health conditions can worsen too.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone – a lot of people have problems with sleep. Perhaps you’ve recognised one of these situations:

  • Finding it hard to fall asleep
  • Feeling extremely tired because you didn’t have a good sleep
  • Having an interrupted sleep because of nightmares or panic attacks, for example
  • Finding it hard to get out of bed
  • Sleeping more than usual, especially during times you should be awake

Consequently, if you don’t get a good quality night’s sleep then you are more likely to feel anxious or depressed.

Not only that, but poor sleep can make you feel lonely, because you don’t have the energy to see people or they don’t understand. You may find it hard to concentrate, find it hard to make decisions, or feel annoyed as you have no energy to do things.

It’s clear to see how big of an impact sleep has on mental health, here’s how it affects these 4 problems…

1. Stress

When you’ve been tossing and turning all night, you’ve probably noticed the bad mood you’re in the next morning.

And when you’re feeling irritable, even the most minor stresses of everyday life can feel harder to cope with.

So a poor night’s sleep makes it difficult to deal with stress, making you more frustrated and short-tempered, which not only affects you but those around you too.

On the other hand, if you’re constantly missing out on good sleep, this in itself can turn into the source of your stress; for example, you know you need to get a good sleep but then you feel worried that you’re not going to be able to fall asleep.

2. Anxiety 

With anxiety, sleep plays a part in too ways:

  1. Suffering from anxiety can result in more sleep disturbances
  2. Sleep deprivation can develop feelings of anxiety 

For this reason, if you’re experiencing problems with your sleep you should not leave it too long before you seek help. Otherwise this can turn into a vicious cycle that can be hard to break out from.

In addition, coping with symptoms of anxiety can be a lot more difficult when you’re feeling tired and make other anxiety disorders much worse; i.e. PTSD.

But even mentally healthy people can have feelings of anxiety if they’ve had a poor sleep; as they’ve not slept properly, they feel agitated and anxious.

3. Depression

Having issues with your sleep is a common symptom of depression.

However, not getting enough or proper sleep can cause depression too.

Research reveals that those who experience insomnia are more likely to develop depression than those who get good quality sleep; this suggests that improving sleep can lessen people’s chances of developing depression.

Fortunately, those who are diagnosed with depression (and therefore get treatment), will notice an improved quality of sleep and thus be able to manage their depression better.

Things like:

  • Talking with a therapist
  • Keeping a regular sleeping pattern
  • Careful naps (20 minute power naps)
  • Exercising regularly

Will all help to get a better night’s sleep.

4. Bipolar Disorder

If you’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you’re probably familiar with sleep disturbances like insomnia, nightmares and irregular sleep/wake cycles.

As with the above conditions, sleep can be a symptom of bipolar disorder as well as be the cause of the condition.

Consequently, those with bipolar disorder and get poor quality sleep can have symptoms of mania or hypomania.

As such, if you have bipolar disorder and are having difficulties sleeping, make sure you speak with your doctor so they can help.

Wrapping Up

Understandably, you may be feeling overwhelmed after reading how important sleep is and how it can affect mental health.

The good news is though, finding ways that can improve your sleep will go a long way in relieving symptoms – of course it’s not a cure, but it will play a part in your recovery.

If you’d like to know more, contact us today.

Please check our Court of Protection services in the meantime.

You may also like:

  1. Talking to Your Family About Mental Health
  2. 7 Common Misconceptions About Mental Health
  3. What to do if you Feel You’re Struggling With Mental Health