Sleep is essential for optimal functioning of the body and mind, and yet it is a highly disregarded necessity. Healthy sleep supports general mental and physical wellbeing. Insufficient sleep is linked to long-term health consequences that can include mental health disorders and physical ailments. It is important to understand the role of a good night’s rest in mental health to prioritize it as a coping strategy in daily life.
During sleep, the brain works to process and organize information from our day-to-day experiences, while the body recharges to wake up alert and refreshed. Without sufficient healthy sleep, the brain and body are unable to complete necessary processes that support the successful management of even minor stressors. Things that normally may not be bothersome after a good night’s sleep, may leave you feeling excessively irritated and frustrated.
While poor sleep and insomnia have been known to be symptoms of depression, recent studies demonstrate evidence to support that lack of sleep causes depression. The effects of poor sleep on mood can make it difficult to maintain an optimistic frame of mind. The symptoms of depression associated with an overall shift in perspective and negative self-concept have been linked to an increased risk of suicide, intensifying the need to shine a spotlight on the role of sleep on depression.
Sleep disturbances are linked to increased feelings of anxiety, and anxiety, leads to increased sleep disturbances, creating a cycle that perpetuates both issues. In addition, sleep problems have been identified as predictors of generalized anxiety disorder when left untreated for prolonged periods. As such, addressing sleep disturbances can contribute to coping with anxiety, thus creating healthy sleep-mood cycles.
Memory and Cognitive Function
During the non-rapid eye movement stage of the Sleep Cycle, memories are organized and consolidated. Poor sleep can make it difficult to remember important details about our day. Decreased ability to maintain focus and concentration only further add to feelings of frustration if unable to retain and recall information needed for important events, such as work-related projects or social commitments.
Poor sleep increases the production of the hormone that triggers appetite and creates an imbalance in metabolism that leads to unhealthy dietary choices. The result of these dietary changes can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Weight gain associated with health issues can lead to obesity, which can exacerbate depression and anxiety.
Steps to Take to Improve Sleep and Wellbeing
Helpful lifestyle changes can include:
- Establish a soothing nightly routine to set the mood for a restful night’s sleep.
- Avoid caffeine or stimulants close to bedtime.
- Set a limit on the use of electronic devices at least 1 hour before bedtime.
Talk to a professional in order to address sleep problems that may be caused by, or contributing to, a mental health condition. Psychological treatments and interventions that target sleep issues are effective in relieving symptoms of insomnia and mood disorders. Support through therapy paired with lifestyle changes may have a positive impact on your psychological symptoms.
If you would like to address other ways to improve your mental health, give Tx Harmony Counseling a call or contact us here.