Relationship Between Mental Health and Sleep

January 24, 2023

Relationship Between Mental Health and Sleep

By Vanessa Gonzalez

We spend about 33% of our lives asleep. Yet, many people have sleep issues or don't prioritize their sleep. Not getting enough sleep can have many short-term and long-term consequences.

Sleep impacts our mental health! Sleep is closely correlated with one's emotional and mental health and is linked with many mental conditions, such as anxiety and depression.

Sleep Stages

When we sleep, our brain goes through many sleep cycles and constantly flows through the stages. Each stage has its purpose.

Stage 1: Slow Eye movement, muscles relax, but twitching may occur, and you may be awakened easily.Stage 2: Your body begins to relax. Your brain waves are slower, eye movement stops, body temperature drops, and breathing and heart rate are regular.Stage 3: Energy is restored, slower brain waves and hormones are released.REM stage: brain activity picks up. So, the eyes dart, muscles may be paralyzed, and irregular breathing and heart rate. In this stage, there is more intense dreaming.

Each of these stages plays a role in the overall brain health, enhancing learning, memory, and mental health. So, lack of sleep can affect one's mood and emotional reactivity.

Specific Mental Health Diagnosis and sleep

· Anxiety: When we are fearful or constantly worried, we have trouble sleeping. This is because when we feel in danger, we are hyper-aroused. The mind is racing, which is directly correlated with insomnia. So, anxiety can affect one's ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. But sleeping issues aren't just a result of anxiety either. Lack of sleep can lead to developing anxiety symptoms or disorders.· Depression: Depression can result from lack of sleep and vice versa. There is a bidirectional relation between sleep and depression that mutually affect one another.· ADHD: Individuals with ADHD have difficulty falling asleep and may be tired during the day. It is common for those with ADHD to have Restless Leg Syndrome, which affects sleep.· Bipolar Disorder: Individuals with this disorder may experience fluctuations in sleeping patterns affected by their emotions. In a depressed mood, they may experience excessive sleep. However, during a manic episode, they may feel more insomnia. Similarly to depression, bipolar disorder and sleep issues affect one another.

Tips for Sleeping

Things that are known to make sleep worse

· Napping in the daytime· Watching tv before bed· Using technology with a bright screen before bed (e.g., a smartphone, a laptop)· Drinking caffeine. Try not to drink coffee after 3 pm (includes tea, coffee, cola,· Drinking alcohol

Things that are known to improve sleep

· Regular exercise· When you can't sleep, journaling out thoughts or emotions as an outlet to let go of the anxiety· Relaxation exercises such as mediation, deep breathing, and muscle relaxation· Fixed bedtime routine· Sleeping in colder temperatures

Sleep is not only crucial for your mental health, but it is important for your overall functioning. While we put so much into every day, we should also ensure we have enough time to rest.

Get better sleep while addressing your behavioral health and wellness in Jupiter, Palm Beach County.