No one can deny that lack of sleep can affect mental and physical health. There’s a reason why people say “woke up on the wrong side of the bed” when someone is cranky for no reason at all. There’s a lot of truth behind the statement. Sleep demonstrates close links with emotional and mental wellbeing. Not only that, but sleep is also connected to anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and other conditions.
Researchers conclude the connection between sleep and mental health points to a bidirectional relationship. Mental health can take a toll on your sleep. On the other hand, poor sleep can also cause mental health issues and worsen the condition.
Sleep and mental health are considered complex issues as everyone is different. Some various reasons and factors cause sleep and mental health. However, mental health and sleep are closely connected and depend on each other. Thus, it is believed if you sleep well, your mental condition also improves.
Sleep Deprivation and Mental Health Connection
There’s fluctuation in brain activity while we’re awake and sleeping. The change also happens in sleep during different stages that constitute the sleep cycle. For example, during NREM sleep, the overall activity of the brain slows down. However, there are quick bursts of energy in the brain during Non-Rapid Eye Movement sleep. REM sleep picks up brain activity rapidly. Due to such high and quick brain activity, we dream intensely.
Every stage in the sleep cycle plays a crucial role in brain health and wellbeing. Different stages allow various parts of the brain to become active or slow down. These stages indulge in enabling the brain to think, learn, and memorize better. Research on sleep cycles has also shown that brain activity during sleep also affects mental and emotional health.
Getting sufficient sleep, REM sleep, in particular, helps the brain to process emotional information better. While sleeping, the brain goes back to evaluate thoughts and memories. Lack of sleep can harm the overall evaluation and positive emotions calculation. This difference can influence emotional reactivity and mood. It is also tied with mental health disorders, including severe conditions such as suicidal thoughts.
Due to the bidirectional nature, the traditional view of mental health causes lack of sleep is being questioned. It is becoming more evident to researchers and experts that mental health can cause sleep disruption, and lack of sleep can give rise to mental instability. Thus, sleeping problems can be both a cause and result of mental health conditions.
Another aspect that is linked with mental health problems is known as OSA (obstructive sleep apnea). OSA causes pauses in breathing during sleep and also reduces oxygen levels in the body. The occurrence of obstructive sleep apnea is higher in people suffering from psychiatric conditions. It can distract the biology of the body from physical health to mental distresses.
However, professionals say a lot more research is needed to be carried out to pin down the relationship between sleep and mental health. The current information suggests that there are multiple factors involved in the bidirectional connection.
How to Improve Sleep and Mental Health?
The research goes both ways- mental health conditions can disrupt sleep, and lack of sleep can cause mental illness. The sleep and mental health relationship is complex and goes hand-in-hand. However, it also means that the treatment can also be performed simultaneously. The steps involved in improving sleep patterns can also form healthier mental wellbeing.
Every individual is different when it comes to sleep and comfort. Similarly, the mental state of every person is also different. Thus, there’s no optimal treatment, but there are basic steps that everyone can follow to sleep better and keep their mental state healthier.
On the other hand, there are significant issues that only a professional can handle for you. They can give a better regime to keep your mental and physical health in check. For example, the treatment for an underlying condition, through diagnosis, such as obstructive sleep apnea, is also beneficial for mental health.
One of the common causes for lack of sleep is hygiene. Having a setting that promotes sleep hygiene and makes the bedroom more sleep-friendly is always helpful. The environment will reduce sleep disruption, and the quality of sleep will also improve. There are various steps to improve your sleeping patterns, as mentioned below.
- Sustaining a steady schedule for sleep with a set bedtime. For example, going to sleep at a similar time every day can be beneficial.
- Techniques that can help you to wind down after the end of the day. Do something that relaxes you so the brain can calm and start to rest. The resting period of the brain promotes sleep and lets the body know that it’s time to sleep.
- Avoiding beverages that reduce the need to sleep, like alcohol, coffee, and tobacco in the evening. Sleep Science researchers advise not to consume caffeine at least 3 hours before bedtime.
- Changing the light scenario in the bedroom. For example, dim the lights in your room, making it dark, and avoiding electronic devices. Gadgets like TVs, smartphones, tablets, and others emit blue light, which causes a lack of sleep. It’s hard to go to sleep when blue light hits you a lot before bedtime.
- Exercising regularly is a great way to tire your body and falling asleep quickly.
- Exposure to the sun is another way to let your circadian rhythm, the biological clock in your body, know that it’s time to stay awake. Thus, when the sun goes down, your body will start to acknowledge that it’s time to sleep.
- Blocking excessive light and sound from the bedroom can also help to promote better sleep as there will be no disruption at night till dawn.
Another way sleep experts suggest is to get a comfortable and supportive mattress, pillows, and bedding to sleep better. The critical factor is to find a mattress that is made just the way you prefer. There are many mattresses in the market, and keeping that in mind, Mancini’s Sleepworld has come with new technology. The latest invention known as SleepMatch will help you to find the perfect match for your sleep. You just need to take a simple SleepMatch test so it can show the suggestions.
Their new store in San Ramon is the first in California among all 35 Mancini’s Sleepworld mattress stores to exist with this latest technology. However, SleepMatch will soon be available in all 35 mattress stores. So, hurry and call them now to book an appointment with sleep experts to find your match for the night.