Mental health can have every impact on your life. Because of this, there has been a lot of research on how you can better manage your mental health. Most people will be aware of some of these findings. For example, exercise, natural light, and a good diet have all been linked to increased wellbeing. However, there’s an easier solution for you to explore: get more sleep. Though it sounds too good to be true, there are at least four links between good sleep and improved mental health.
1. Sleep Can Improve Learning and Memory
During the night, we go through several sleep stages. When we first lie down, we start in a light sleep. During this period, it’s easy to get disturbed by a loud noise. However, as you continue to sleep, you cycle into a deeper sleep. This is known as REM sleep. During this period, heart rate and body temperature increase, mimicking the activity seen when someone is awake. Typically, this cycle will repeat every 90 minutes.
REM sleep is one of the most important periods during the night. During this period, your brain can consolidate the things that you learned during the day. It’s similar to backing up your data into the mental cloud. This period can also help you learn new things, making connections that you might otherwise have missed.
If you want to boost your memory and wake more rested, you can base your sleep patterns around this cycle. There are plenty of phone apps available that can help you track these sleep cycles. Once you have this information, set your alarms during periods of lighter sleep. You’ll find it easier to wake up, and you’ll feel more refreshed each morning.
2. Lack of Sleep Can Lead to Depression
Many mental health conditions are linked with the amount of sleep that you’re getting. Because of the serious consequences of depression, its link to sleep has been studied intensely. Through this research, we have learned a few interesting things about this disease.
First, the amount of sleep you get can have a profound impact on your mood. This is likely something that you’ve experienced first-hand. After a poor night’s sleep, we can become more irritated, getting frustrated more easily. Whereas, after a good night’s sleep, we tend to have a more positive outlook.
Your mood can also affect the type of sleep you are receiving. For example, if you have a lot of stress, you might struggle to get to sleep at night. This can result in a nasty cycle. In this case, changing your sleeping habits might be a good place to start.
For those with a chronic lack of sleep, these effects can become more pronounced and lead to more serious issues. In some cases, it can even cause depression. It’s believed that this could explain why depression is so prevalent amongst insomniacs. Lack of sleep can also make these conditions harder to treat. Scientists have found that, even when diagnosed correctly, insomniacs can often find it harder to deal with depression. Often, the best results come when they can change their sleep patterns to get a more restful night sleep.
3. Lack of Sleep Can Impact Productivity
Lack of sleep can also impact your performance in the workplace. There are plenty of ways that you might experience this. First, the amount of sleep you get can have a big impact on your focus. This can make it a lot harder to work, especially if you are in a detail-oriented environment. This will make it harder to advance in your career. In turn, higher stress levels can lead to more sleepless nights.
Another common impact of lack of sleep is drowsiness. For some, this can impact the way they sleep. It can make it harder to complete seemingly easy tasks. However, for some people, this can be deadly. If you operate heavy machinery when drowsy, your reaction time will be impacted. This can greatly increase the chances that you’ll end up injuring someone. Sadly, drowsiness causes hundreds of deaths each year.
This drop-in productivity can have a big impact on employers. When people have an issue focusing or make silly mistakes, the jobs take longer to complete. For instance, it’s estimated that lack of sleep is costing Australian businesses around $66 billion each year.
Lack of sleep can also have a more personal impact. Sleep and drowsiness are your body’s way of telling you that you need to take a break and rest. Ignoring these regularly can often lead to burnout. Experiencing burnout is increasingly common amongst people of all ages. The symptoms can vary. For some, it might manifest as extreme exhaustion. Others might find themselves becoming more aggressive.
4. Poor Sleep Habits Can Increase Stress Levels
Sleep has a crucial role in the way your brain functions, as sleep can help regulate emotions, like stress and anxiety. Throughout the night, your brain releases several chemicals. Two of these are called cortisol and adrenaline. These are linked to the amount of stress that you experience. During the night, the levels of cortisol and adrenaline are stabilized. This helps you wake up feeling refreshed.
However, if you cut the amount of sleep you’re getting each night, your brain won’t have enough time to control the production of these chemicals. Because of this, you might feel more stressed and uneasy during the day. As we mentioned, this can start a cycle where you get less sleep because you are anxious.
How to Improve Your Sleep
As we’ve seen, sleep plays a vital role in creating positive mental health. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways that you’ll be able to improve your sleep. First, you’ll need to know how much sleep you should be getting each night. This will often depend on your age. Most adults will need between seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
The next thing that you might want to do is create a healthy sleep environment. In this case, you want to make sure that you feel comfortable in your bedroom. For example, you might want to paint the walls a soothing color. It can also help to make sure that you have a comfortable mattress. This will also ensure that you’re getting plenty of support throughout the night, so you don’t wake up feeling stiff and sore. For some people, it can help to create a dark environment. This can encourage your brain to release melatonin, which makes you sleepy.
Finally, you might want to create a sleep routine. If you have trouble getting to sleep each night, try to stop using electronic devices an hour before you want to go to bed. These devices can emit blue light, which keeps you awake. Instead of scrolling through social media, try focusing on a relaxing activity like reading.
Related Article: How to Keep a Sleep Diary?
Sleep has a powerful impact on both your physical and mental health. As we’ve seen, there are plenty of ways that the amount and quality of sleep you get and your mental health are linked. So, use some of these tips to make sure that you’re building a sleep routine to improve your wellbeing. As you can imagine your baby’s sleep is also very important so we recommend to check out this informative comfy and safe toddler pillows compilation.