The Relationship Between Lack of Sleep and Mental Health
Everyone is aware that sleep plays an important role in good physical and mental health. Not getting a good night’s sleep can leave you feeling irritable and exhausted in the short-term, but it can also have serious long-term health consequences. Lack of sleep is linked to several health problems including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, anxiety, and the list goes on.
Sleep problems can lead to changes in mental health, but mental health conditions can also worsen problems with sleep. Lack of sleep may cause the onset of certain psychological conditions. Because of this circular relationship between your sleep patterns and your mental state, it is important that you get an adequate amount of sleep.
Mood changes including increased irritability and anger can make it much harder to cope with even the minor stresses of daily life. Daily hassles can turn into major sources of frustration. You might find yourself feeling frazzled, short-tempered, and frustrated by everyday annoyances. Poor sleep itself can even turn into a source of stress. You might know that you need to get a good night’s sleep, but then find yourself worrying that you will not be able to fall or stay asleep each night.
Insomnia and other sleep problems can be a symptom of depression but more recently, research has implicated lack of sleep in actually causing depression. Studies found that people who experience insomnia have a much higher risk of developing depression over those who do not have problems sleeping. Treating insomnia is an important way to help improve mental health. Getting a good night’s sleep is also reported to improve one’s overall well-being, including their ability to function at home and work.
As with many other psychological conditions, the relationship between lack of sleep and anxiety appears to go both directions. People with anxiety tend to experience more sleep disorders but experiencing sleep deprivation can also contribute to feelings of anxiety. This can become a cycle that affects both sleep and anxiety issues.
Sleep problems appear to be a risk factor for developing anxiety disorders. One study found that problems with sleep were a predictor of generalized anxiety disorders. Those who struggle with sleep problems may be more likely to develop an anxiety condition, particularly if their sleep problems are prolonged and left untreated. Coping with feelings of anxiety can be much more difficult when you are tired from poor sleep and tossing and turning. Because of this, poor sleep can make the symptoms of anxiety disorders much worse.
Here are a few suggestions that may help you get a good night’s sleep.
Idea Cool Weighted Blanket
Enjoy the feeling of being “hugged” as you drift off into a restful sleep. Weighted blankets have been used by children and adults of all ages to promote sleep and relaxation. They can provide comfort for those who feel over-stimulated and anxious. Will it make you overheat? No. While they are heavier than most comforters, it doesn’t mean they are too hot. The main thing you should worry about is choosing the right weight and size, which can vary based on your bed size and personal body weight. I recommend the Weighted Idea blanket – it comes in various sizes and has a whole range of colors to choose from.
The Douni Sleep Sound Machine
Another popular item that’s been around for years and backed by research. According to the journal, Neuron, pink noise helped improve deep sleep versus no noise. Turns out, more noise can actually help you hear less and sleep better. If you’re new to this idea I recommend the Douni. It boasts 24 total sounds and you can take it virtually anywhere using your existing power bank. For personal use, there is also a headphone jack!
Soothing Sleep Mist (Lavender Scented)
This one you definitely have heard at one point in your life – and it’s true! Lavender oil is a popular aromatherapy choice for sleep and relaxation for those with “jangled nerves”. The benefit to this type of sleep aid is it not only helps you fall asleep it may even increase the time spent in deep, slow-wave sleep. I like this bed and sheet spray in particular because it contains Clary Sage Oil and Amethyst crystal as well.
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