The Importance of Sleep for Mental Health
Did you know that sleep is just as crucial for our mental health as it is for our physical health? Many experts believe that poor sleep or a lack of sleep can lead to or worsen mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
The good news is that getting sleep is relatively easy - all it takes is simple lifestyle changes. Follow along as we discuss the importance of excellent sleep health and provide some valuable tips on how to get a good night's rest.
Sleep helps to regulate our moods and emotions, so when sleep-deprived, we are more likely to feel irritable, anxious, and even depressed. Getting the proper amount of sleep can help to improve our mood and help fight mental health disorders.
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A Simple 3-step Routine to Combat Poor Sleep
Here are a few simple things you can do to get a good night's sleep. This might not help everyone, but more often than not, it's an excellent place to start getting quality sleep.
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. This will help to regulate your body's natural sleep cycle.
Create a relaxing bedtime routine that includes winding down for 30 minutes before you turn off the lights. This could involve reading, listening to calm music, or taking a warm bath.
Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool - this will help your body relax and fall asleep more easily.
Seek Medical Advice if Needed
If you have attempted to implement the simple 3-step routine listed above and are still struggling to get enough sleep, it may be time to talk to your doctor. Conditions like chronic insomnia and other psychiatric disorders are real issues that could be plaguing you.
Doctors can help you identify any underlying conditions causing your insomnia and provide treatment options. Getting the right amount of sleep is essential for mental health, so don't hesitate to schedule time with a specialist if you feel something is wrong.
Reasons for Sleep Disorders
Sleep disorders are more common than you might think. A slew of mental health problems / mental health disorders or psychiatric disorders can lead to poor sleep. Below are some of the most common mental health conditions that cause sleep problems.
Anxiety disorders are mental illnesses that can cause intense feelings, such as worry or fear. People with this condition may find it challenging to carry out daily tasks because their minds are occupied by negative thoughts all day.
Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric condition that causes cycling between manic and depressive episodes. Patients with the disease may experience periods of high energy, reduced need for sleep, or sexual interest during their cycling period, known as mania.
People suffering from BPD might also have significant mood changes, making them feel sad than satisfied. This often causes people to feel depressed rather than emotionally bankrupt (where their minds are still functioning but not necessarily connected). Mood swings can last days up until months, depending on the severity of the mental illness.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
A person who has experienced trauma may have difficulty recovering from it. Certain events can trigger traumatic memories. These can cause intense emotional and physical reactions. These reactions can render one unable to function normally for months or years after the initial incident.
These symptoms could also include bad dreams where everything seems so natural that it feels like the event is happening all over again, intrusive thoughts about what happened during the trauma and feeling on edge, irritable, and having difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
ADHD is a chronic condition that affects the brain's ability to focus and regulate emotions. People with ADHD often experience hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and difficulty paying attention or staying still for more than 10 minutes without feeling restless enough (inability).
This can cause problems in everyday life, such as having trouble working because of not being able to stay focused on one task long enough. The restlessness from ADHD can directly transfer to sleep problems/sleep difficulties.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is one of the top mental health issues that causes sleep disturbances. It affects about 3% - 5% of percent population but can be worse depending on location due to cultural exposure, age, genetics, and other health conditions. The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder occur when someone lives in a climate with less sunlight at certain times during the year.
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The most common are fatigue, depression, and hopelessness with social withdrawal and sometimes coming on suddenly for no reason or just after major emotional events such as divorce, loss of a loved one, breakups, etc.
More Tips to Fix Your Sleep Health
Use blackout curtains, a white noise machine, or an air conditioner to create the ideal sleep environment.
Establish a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime. Caffeine and alcohol cause insomnia, which can be fatal if left untreated. Try to avoid these substances for a good night's rest.
Get some exercise during the day to help you sleep better at night. Just be sure to avoid working out too close to bedtime.
Wind down before bed by reading or taking a hot bath. Avoid using electronic devices like phones, laptops, and tablets in the hours leading up to sleep.
NEXT: The Lighter Side of Heart Health
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