Our brain needs rest in order to be functional the next day, and goes through multiple sleep stages in the sleep cycle. Each role plays an important part in brain health, and if one of the sleep stages is interrupted, it can influence mood, emotions, and our ability to function with a health brain. Here are 3 ways sleep affects mental health:
Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders that people face today. Studies have shown that about 75% of people with depression show symptoms of insomnia. Because our brains can’t function optimally when we don’t get a proper night’s rest, it can become a vicious cycle of poor sleep worsening depression which then turns into a worse sleep.
We’ve all been there - it’s 12am and you shoot up in bed worrying that you forgot to hit send on an email to your boss. Sleep plays a huge part in how we handle stress because if we’re tired, we’re unable to manage our emotions, and we may start falling behind on work simply because we don’t have enough energy which then in turn causes more stress.
Anxiety creates an excess amount of fear and worry that can lead to serious health problems like diabetes and heart disease. Although there are many types of anxiety disorders, they are all heavily associated with sleep issues. The extra worry and fear can lead to a lack of being able to fall (and stay) asleep which affects the amount of rest one can get. People who suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) often replay negative events in their mind causing them to have nightmares, and are unable or afraid to fall back asleep which can lead to severe insomnia.
So, sleep can have a huge impact on our mental health - what’s one of the ways we can help improve our sleep? One of the ways is by improving our sleep habits. If you haven’t already, check out our post on how to set a sleep routine. Some highlights include maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the evening, and keeping a cool room temperature so that being too hot doesn’t wake you up.