It’s recommended that adults should sleep for seven or more hours per night, however, almost 1 in 5 people in the UK aren’t getting enough sleep. In addition to this, insomnia is a common problem throughout the world and is believed to affect approximately 33% of the world’s population, highlighting just how problematic a poor night’s rest can potentially be.
It’d be naive to suggest going to bed earlier or having an early night. For example, you may be a student with a heavy workload and can’t go to sleep earlier. Perhaps you’ve been so busy that you have simply lost track of the time. Or maybe you’ve worked a ridiculous amount of hours this week and don’t want to sacrifice your social life.
Day-to-day life tends to meddle in your sleep routine, unpredictable situations crop up, and a good night’s sleep is not always straightforward.
Mental health refers to cognitive, behavioural, and emotional well-being. Our mental health influences how we think, feel and behave.
Mental health can affect daily living, relationships, and physical health. And vice-versa our day-to-day life can determine our mental health.
It’s well-documented that a poor sleep routine is likely to be detrimental to your physical health, including heart disease, kidney disease and high blood pressure, among other conditions.
However, it’s not always easy to understand the relationship between poor sleep and mental health. Here, we explain some of the issues related to poor sleep:
Whilst not a medical term, brain fog relates to poor concentration and confusion. Sleep deprivation makes it increasingly difficult to pay attention and focus, increasing the odds of becoming easily confused. Furthermore, an inability to concentrate often leads to impaired judgement.
There’s a correlation between a lack of sleep with feelings of irritability and stress. Whilst a poor night’s sleep can affect your mood and how you function. Your state of mind, thoughts and feelings can influence the quality of your sleep. Feelings of anxiety and stress increase agitation and your body’s alertness and are synonymous with quick and shallow breathing, your heart beating faster, and an inability to switch off at night.
Depression has been a significant talking point throughout the last few years. The stigma surrounding depression, the attempts to banish the misconceptions that accompany depression, and the reality of living with depression have provided significant talking points in recent years.
The case is the same when considering the relationship between mental health and sleep. The influence of mental health on sleep cannot be underestimated, with poor nights’ sleep impacting mental health and, vice versa, depression impacting sleep quality.
Sleep disruptions can affect the body’s stress system and consequently increase vulnerability to depression.
Several similarities can be drawn between depression and anxiety. A lack of sleep increase cortisol levels, the body’s primary stress hormone, which can be described as ‘nature’s built-in alarm system’. Other factors are often at play, such as negative thoughts or avoidance behaviours, to offset thoughts and feelings that are symptomatic of anxiety.
Essentially, anxious thoughts and feelings coupled with a lack of sleep can lead to an anxiety disorder.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the reliving of traumatic events through the medium of flashbacks and nightmares. Individuals who have PTSD can be characterised as chronically experiencing a heightened state of arousal following a traumatic event.
The potential offset of PTSD can be identified among those who experience sleep problems, specifically nightmares, insomnia, and fragmented rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
Individuals with bipolar alternate between periods of manic and depressed states. Some, but not all, symptoms of bipolar include feeling sad, hopeless or irritable most of the time, lacking energy and struggling to concentrate.
Sleep disturbances are present among individuals who are diagnosed with bipolar. According to Psychiatry Advisor, a lack of sleep can result in worsening symptoms or potentially lead to a manic relapse.
Truthfully, greater emphasis should be paid towards ‘does poor sleep impact mental health?’ as opposed to exploring how a good sleep schedule can improve your mental health. Quality sleep supports good mental health, whereas poor sleep negatively impacts mental health.
If you’ve become accustomed to living with a mental health condition, it’s not about a quick or easy fix to eradicate the condition. Instead, it’s about learning to live with it.
Here are some quick and easy tips to sleep better at night:
- Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.
- Try to turn off electronic devices such as TVs, computers, and smartphones before you go to bed.
- Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.
- Be active during the day.
- Limit daytime naps as they can interfere with nighttime sleep.
Achieving a good night’s sleep can also depend on the quality of your bed. As previously discussed, poor quality sleep can directly impact mental health, so choosing the right mattress for you can help you sleep better at night.
Shopping for a mattress a be overwhelming at first glance. Don’t worry though, Mattressman is here to help you find the perfect bed for you.
Mattressman provides insight into the different features that our mattresses offer, including their benefits. As a result, you can find out what will work for you best. Browse our mattresses and read their product descriptions, as they provide advice regarding the most appropriate mattress based on sleeping positions, alongside many other aspects.
Please note that Mattressman are not healthcare professionals. Our blog intends to highlight the link between mental health and sleep. If you’re struggling with your mental health, please contact your GP.