Mental health and sleep go hand-in-hand. Living with a mental health condition can affect your sleep and people who have trouble sleeping are more likely to develop health issues. If this is something that you have previously experienced, or are currently experiencing, it comes as no surprise that the reality of the situation is less than desirable.
We all need sleep, but many of us have problems establishing healthy sleeping patterns. Whether you find it difficult to fall asleep or your sleep is interrupted due to panic attacks or nightmares, poor sleep can be a contributing factor to the onset and worsening of mental health problems. Fortunately, there are ways to improve sleep that may even serve as a preventive mental health strategy.
The Impact of Lack of Sleep on Mental Health
When your body doesn’t get the recommended hours of sleep it needs, it can negatively affect mental performance the next day. Sleep deprivation influences your mental health in many ways. One such way is an increased emotional response to negative feelings by 60%. While some effects of sleep deprivation may noticeably appear the next day, there are other serious impacts that you should watch out for in the long run.
Here are the impacts of not getting enough sleep on your mental health:
There’s a relationship that exists between anxiety and sleep. People diagnosed with anxiety experience sleep disturbances. Those who are sleep deprived have an increased risk of developing anxiety disorders and those who already have anxiety experience worsening symptoms. A test conducted by the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry showed that even healthy individuals who have never been previously diagnosed with a mental health condition can still experience increased anxiety and stress levels as a direct result of poor sleeping habits. To avoid feeling agitated and distraught, get treatment for your sleep deprivation before it worsens.
Sleep plays an important role in consolidating new information into memories. When you don’t get enough sleep, or it’s cut short, the nerve connection that forms our memories weakens. When you’re sleepy, you often forget and misplace things, and it becomes clear how sleep affects your mental health. You may also have a hard time focusing and concentrating during the day. Building a solid sleep schedule may help to prevent memory impairment.
When it comes to mental health and sleep disorders, insomnia is linked to depression. However, some studies indicate that lack of sleep may put a person at risk of developing depression, but addressing insomnia early may be an effective way to prevent the onset. That said, researchers successfully found that insomniac patients treated with cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) showed a reduction in depression, nightmares and overall improvement in well-being. If you have insomnia, get the help of a therapist to reduce your risk of developing depression.
The Onset of a Manic Episode
If you have bipolar disorder, sleep disturbances can happen often. At the same time, poor sleep can also play a role in your condition by increasing symptoms of mania or hypomania. The Sleep Medical Clinics Journal has stated that sleep interventions are crucial because changes in the sleeping pattern of bipolar patients preceded the onset of a manic episode. Thus, when you experience any sleep difficulties, be sure to talk to your doctor about it.
Worsen ADHD symptoms
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with sleep problems, and research also suggests that sleep disturbances play a factor in the condition. Children who have ADHD experience sleep problems, including difficulty falling or staying asleep, and night walking among others. An assessment of a patient’s current sleep patterns could improve the severity of their ADHD symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.
3 Tips for Getting Better Sleep
Sleep gives the mind and the body the time it needs to cleanse, stabilise, and rest. To help you start on building a good sleeping habit, here are tips for getting better sleep:
- Consistently go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.
- Plan a reward whenever you achieve a step toward changing your sleep schedule.
- Sleep in complete darkness and ensure that your bedroom is quiet and at a comfortable temperature.
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Your sleep deprivation and mental health can be dealt with by the right experts. Through a comprehensive treatment plan, they will set ways to improve your sleep quality and quantity that may help prevent and relieve the symptoms of these mental disorders. Therefore, treating your sleep issues early will protect both your physical and mental well-being.
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