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Mental Health And The Importance Of Sleep

As we all are aware that there’s a close relationship between sleep and mental health, we must be aware that one affects the other. Poor sleep can impact on your mental health, causing worry and anxiety, which in turn, leads to further lack of sleep. This can make you tired and lethargic the following day, making recovery from mental health issues even more complicated and treatment less effectual.

Trouble in sleeping is the sign of undiagnosed mental health problems which shouldn’t be ignored. A number of reasons are listed below in which mental health can affect your sleep:

Depression

When we are depressed our body will push us to stay inside; the best way for our body to achieve this is to make us feel exhausted, thereby encouraging excessive sleep. Often those with depression feel tired all of the time and sleep during the day. On the other hand, sufferers of depression will frequently find they wake in the early hours and are unable to go back to sleep, leaving them feeling even more drained during the day.

Anxiety

During the day, we have the chance to divert ourselves from the distressing thoughts that may be leading to anxiety. Conversely, when we get into bed and things go quiet; our minds are free to roam. We experience our mind racing and can’t ‘switch off’. We end up worrying about everything, including how we will deal with with the effects of sleep loss the following day.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

This disorder often causes nightmares and dramatic flashbacks which can arouse sufferers during the night. Thus, sufferers are often terrified of going to bed and avoid sleeping which can lead to insomnia.

Panic Disorder

People who endure with panic may find they are having attacks during the night. They will wake feeling short of breath and covered with sweat and may need to get out of bed and get some fresh air in order to cool down. This outline can lead to the bed becoming associated with horror and the occurrence of the panic attack and in turn, increases the risk of insomnia.

How to overcome it?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Learning to manage your anxiety or panic during the day can help reverse their effects during the night time. CBT and other techniques, such as Mindfulness, will train your brain to distinguish and swing away from negative thinking, give you a variety of long term skills necessary to improve mood and manage anxiety.

Establish a sleep routine

Keeping a habitual sleep routine will help to organize your body for sleep at night time by synchronizing your body clock. In order to start a sleep routine you should:

  • Keep a sleep diary, tracking your sleep times and ensuring you stick to the same sleep times each night.
  • Get up at the same time each morning. Set an alarm and make every effort to get out of bed as soon as it goes off.
  • Avoid the temptation to spend lots of time in bed during the day as this can disrupt your sleep pattern.
  • Keep your bedroom for sleeping. If you are lying in bed feeling anxious and sad then leave the room.

Consider medical treatment

If you are suffering from sleep loss, it is significant to consider that you are not alone and that support is obtainable. If you are struggling to battle your mental health concerns alone, speak to your General Physician as they will be able to explain your medical options and may recommend medicine to help you get back to your old self. 

We must not underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep. Poor sleep can impact our health in ways we may never even have considered, including our mental health. Getting good sleep regularly is a key step to a healthy body and healthy mind.

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