Welcome to the world of sleep, where you can recharge your body and mind and enthusiastically start a new day. Yet, despite sleep’s critical role in our lives, many of us still fail to get the restorative and quality sleep we need. Countless factors can contribute to our sleep problems, from sleep disorders to poor sleep hygiene. But don’t worry, in this post; we will explore the importance of sleep, its many benefits, and how you can improve your sleep health. We’ll also touch on the great impact of sleep on mental health. So, grab a cup of tea, put on your favorite pajamas, and get ready to learn how to achieve a restful and refreshing night’s sleep and wake up feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle the day ahead!
Understanding Sleep Health
According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, one in three adults doesn`t get enough sleep. It`s also estimated that 975,000 Canadians between the ages of 14-18 suffer from a serious lack of sleep. And worldwide, it`s estimated that up to 50% of the population suffers from insomnia. I think sleep is sometimes perceived as being lazy. For example, sleeping late into the day or napping, when actually it is something that your body 100% needs. When you get enough sleep, you usually find that you get sick less often, lower your risk of serious health concerns, and can think more clearly.
Importance of Sleep
Sleep occurs naturally and is a reoccurring state of mind and body. There are different sleep stages, which are a very normal part of our daily routines. In fact, it`s a mandatory part of our routine. Sleep is essential to our survival and to thrive in our lives. Sleep affects how our brain functions and directly impacts our mental health. It can affect health conditions, weight loss/weight gain and even more. It’s also important to note the impact of sleep on mental health.
Benefits of good sleep:
- You will likely have better productivity and concentration. These will likely make functioning through your day much easier and less frustrating than fighting to remain focused on the task at hand.
- Better athletic performance. This is because you have more energy, better coordination, and all-around better mental functioning.
- Lower your risk of heart disease. This is because sleep is said to be the time when the body regulates its blood pressure.
- Strengthens your immune system; therefore, you get sick less often! So your sick days at work can be used for Y O U! Self-care!
- Healthier and clearer skin.
- Improves memory.
- Happier moods.
- More stable mental health.
- Lower stress levels and able to manage stress in a healthy way.
Cons of NOT getting enough sleep:
- Potential for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, and more
- Lack of sex drive.
- Struggles with mental health.
- Being more forgetful.
- Memory issues.
- Trouble thinking and concentrating.
- More mood swings.
- Potential for more accidents (workplace injuries, driving injuries, etc.)
- Ages your skin.
- Impairs your judgment.
As you can see, sleep is VERY important! So, how much sleep do we need? It`s recommended that most adults require anywhere from 7-9 hours. However, it really does vary from person to person. Some feel better with 6, and some need 9-10 hours. Also, some feel better with a nap in the afternoon as well.
Napping can offer an adult many benefits.
Decreased stress and feelings of relaxation are the first to come to mind. Improved mood and reduced fatigue are a few more benefits. Some adults find that napping disturbs their nighttime sleep or that it just makes them feel even more tired and groggy. Daytime napping is certainly not for everyone, but for some, it can be very beneficial.
Sleep Deprivation & The Impact of Sleep On Mental Health
For the last year, I have been trying different medications and combinations of different medications to manage my mental illness, and most of them really impacted my sleep. For a few weeks in November, I only slept from about 9 pm until 12 am, and then I would wake up and start my day. My eyes felt so tired by the afternoon, but I could never nap. My body wouldn`t allow me to fall asleep. By evening, I felt like a mess. I couldn`t even remember what had happened in the morning, which made it very difficult when my kids would say, `Mom, remember you said….`. My memory was completely gone, and I felt stupid. It was a very hard point in my journey with medication. Upon starting this new medication, I struggled with sleep for about the first week. But now, usually, I can sleep through the night. If I had to give an average, I would say I sleep through the night 5 out of 7 days a week. I`ve had to play around with what time I need to take my medications, whether or not to eat, and what time all of these work best for me. When I don`t get enough sleep, I struggle so much. I feel like an emotional wreck. I cry, yell, and think more; none of these things work well together. It feels as if the entire world is falling apart and all falling on me.
On days that I feel like this, I remind myself that sleep is NECESSARY. It isn`t just something to do if I have time. All the chores that I have to do will still be there tomorrow, but taking care of my mental and physical health is mandatory. Those days I go to bed early. Sometimes even very early. It’s important that your bedroom is set up to support good sleep. I used to feel so bad when this happened. Being 29 years old, should I really be going to bed at 8 pm? But I`ve come to the conclusion that my age doesn`t matter. My health does. My mind matters more than laundry, dishes, and dirty floors. And yours does too. All of the things on your to-do list will be there tomorrow as well. YOU come first before all. This has been a lesson I`ve needed to focus on.
How important is the impact of sleep on mental health?
The impact of sleep on mental health has been widely studied, and the evidence consistently suggests that sleep and mental health are intricately linked. Numerous studies have demonstrated that sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or sleep deprivation, can increase the risk of developing psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Additionally, sleep problems are both a predictor and consequence of mental health conditions, leading to a vicious cycle that can exacerbate symptoms and hinder recovery. Furthermore, adequate sleep has been shown to positively impact overall mental health and well-being, including improved mood, better cognitive function, and reduced stress levels. Therefore, it is crucial for individuals to prioritize healthy sleep habits to promote and maintain good mental health.
Love Always, N