Those who said, `If you snooze, you lose’ couldn’t have been more wrong. Sure hard work and diligence are important for a successful path but is it worth your health? Sleep is an important parameter for good health and a healthy sleep cycle is necessary to maintain one’s not only physical capability but also mental stability as well as cognitive ability. The mental issues in fact go beyond the scope of insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Sleep deprivation is one of the major causes for mental stress. Americans are highly sleep deprived which leads to the onset of anxiety, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Though we still lack the holistic understanding of the connection between sleep and mental disorders, we can say this for sure that a good night’s sleep can alleviate co-occurring mental health problems.
Points To Keep In Mind
- Though sleep is an important part for everyone, sleep problems are more likely to have an impact on those with psychiatric problems than others.
- Lack of sleep can lead to mental disorders.
- In order to help negate the effects of a sleep disorder, it might help to look into the sleep patterns of those affected.
What May Be The Connect Between Sleep And Mental Disorders?
There are 2 types of sleep that a normal sleeper switches between every 90 minutes.
During the relatively “quiet” sleep, the body goes through a series of activities which denote a natural relaxation. The body temperature drops, muscles relax, heart beat slows and the rate of breathing dips. It is during this relaxed phase when the body builds itself and strengthens its immune system.
(Img Courtesy: Nectar Sleep)
The other category is the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. It is the time span when people dream. Since they are “engaged” in an activity in their dream, the pulse levels and rate of breathing increases to the level where people are usually awake. This type of sleep is highly beneficial for improving memory retention, learning power and building of emotional health.
Since, these two categories are highly important for the emotional as well as the physical build up of the person, any sort of disturbance or disruption can impact the sleeper heavily. The disruption affects the level of nuero-transmitters and stress hormones which impairs emotional health and amplify the effects of sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea.
Mental Disorders Due To Sleep Deprivation
When asleep, our brains gets the time to take out the trash, literally. It goes into a cleaning mode where it rids itself of proteins that are built in between the brain cells all throughout the day. In fact, a research conducted on mice claims that this cleaning process requires the brain cells to shrink which can only be done if you are asleep. Imagine the clogged up proteins you are encouraging in between your brain cells by not sleeping. Such an accumulation is linked to reduced decision making skills, lapsed reaction times and impaired reasoning abilities. Let us take a look at the result of sleep deprivation on our minds.
(Img Courtesy: Dreamcloud Sleep)
Bipolar Disorder: Studies suggest that long periods of sleep deprivation can lead to increased attacks of bipolar disorder and can also trigger mania. Lack of sleep might also affect mood elevations, worsening the case of bipolar.
ADHD: ADHD and sleep disorders are intrinsically related and it might be difficult for researchers to study them exclusive of each other. Lack of sleep leads to hyperactivity, breathing issues, emotionally unstable and unattentive. These are the symptoms of ADHD as well.
Anxiety Disorders: Sleep disorders have an adverse impact on more than 50% of adults who are undergoing anxiety disorder and share a close resemblance to those with post traumatic disorder which may lead to phobias and anxiety attacks.These issues affect children as well. Children with an anxiety disorder are more likely to have an interrupted sleep in comparison to those with a healthy mind.
Depression: Sleep deprivation shares a deep connection with depression. Both issues are reliant on each other and can either be the cause of the other or the result. Depression might lead to sleeplessness or sleep deprivation might lead to tired minds and impaired cognitive ability that can lead to depression. Insomnia and sleep apnea also play a huge role in developing depression. Patients suffering from depression and sleep deprivation are less likely to respond to treatments in contrast to those who are plagued by depression but are able to sleep better.
Tweaking Your Lifestyle
In order to reverse the damage caused by sleep deprivation, try incorporating the following in your daily lifestyle for a blissful sleep.
(Img Courtesy: Awara Sleep)
Comfortable bed accessories: Uncomfortable bed leads to interrupted and intermittent sleep pattern. Invest in good bed accessories that can help you get a good night’s rest. You can choose a natural mattress which will allow a toxin free sleep and if possible, prop it on a twin XL platform bed for increased space. In case your mattress is prone to minor mishaps, protect it with a quality waterproof mattress protector from Nectar
Meditate: Meditation is a proven method that helps improve blood circulation and relaxes the mind. This state of zen helps calm the body down and make it ready for a deep slumber. Secure a corner for yourself in the house and sit on a rug to practice your daily meditation. You can use a purple area rug as purple stands for peace which you are keenly looking for during your meditation.
Eat a Healthy Diet: Stay away from sugar and highly processed foods as they take time to digest and can also lead to upset digestive system, leading to a disturbed sleep.
Cut Down On Caffeine: We know that caffeine are natural steroids. One suffering from insomnia should stay away from it and can reach out to more calming beverages like green tea, chamomile tea and so on.
(Img Courtesy: Nectar Sleep)
Physical Activity: You need to tire your body out in order to get a better and deep sleep. Physical activities can help you fall asleep faster without any interruptions up ahead.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: It is common for those insomnia to pay attention to their lack of sleep. An ironic situation, this act of being preoccupied with not falling asleep eventually leads to adverse impact on the sleep cycle. Cognitive behavioural techniques can be deployed to train the brain into sleeping by switching off the negative thoughts and calming oneself down to a more relaxed state of rest. In a nutshell, it is the mind game deployed to trick the brain into performing its normal function of resting.
Sleep deprivation is one of the biggest threats today which is stringing up a series of lifestyle and mental diseases that can otherwise be alleviated with a restful sleep. By understanding the importance of sleep, people can nip the sleep related mental disorders in the bud and lead the path to a healthier mental state.
(Img Courtesy: iStock)
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
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