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Make sleep a priority to improve your mental health

Everything feels more trying when we’re tired. As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s the right time for us to consider the ways in which sleep, or lack thereof, can affect our mental health. Making sleep a priority is one of the recommended ways to exercise self-care to protect your mental health. Even small additions to your bedtime routine can optimize your sleep to reduce stress and improve your mental and physical health.

1.  Insufficient Sleep Makes It Difficult to Control Emotions

Evidence shows that insufficient sleep can cause you to have difficulty “controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change.” It may make you more impatient or moody. One of the recommended steps to manage stress is to allow yourself time to sleep. That becomes easier when you embrace your bedtime routine and allow yourself the necessary time to wind down in preparation for sleep.

2.    Poor Sleep Prevents the Brain from Organizing Itself

While you’re sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day. “It’s forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information.” Insufficient sleep can result in trouble making decisions and solving problems. It can also “negatively impact both short- and long-term memory.” Avoid stimulants like caffeine and alcohol, especially before going to bed.

3.  Lack of Sleep Interferes with the Sleep-Wake Cycle

The 24-hour internal clock in our brain regulates our sleep-wake cycle so we are alert in the morning and ready to sleep at night. This rhythm can be disrupted by sleep deprivation. Chronic conditions “linked to irregular rhythms include diabetes, obesity, depression, bipolar, disorder, seasonal affective disorder, and other sleep disorders.” Experts recommend going to bed and getting up at consistent times, even on weekends.

4.  Sleep Deprivation Can Increase the Risk of Depression

Studies show that sleep deficiency has been linked to “depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior.” Approximately half of the cases of insomnia, “the inability to get the amount of sleep needed to function efficiently during the daytime,” are related to depression, anxiety, or psychological stress. Regular exercise can help you to fall and stay asleep, as well as make you feel better.

5.  Inadequate Sleep Can Negatively Affect Physical Health

A lack of sleep also adversely affects physical health. Sufficient quality sleep does everything from balancing the hormones that make you feel hungry, leaving you hungrier when you’re tired, to supporting the body’s natural defenses, so you’re able to fight germs and sickness. Bad sleep can worsen symptoms of many mental health issues and decrease the effectiveness of certain treatments. The data shows the connection between good sleep and recovery, as well as prevention, of medical and mental illnesses. A cool, quiet, and dark sleep environment, as well as cozy and hygienic bedding, are conducive to a great night’s sleep.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is celebrating the month with the “Take a Moment campaign.” The goal is to foster open dialogues, to cultivate empathy and understanding, and to stress “the importance of destigmatizing mental health by normalizing the practice of taking moments to prioritize mental health care without guilt or shame.” We recommend taking the necessary moments to prepare yourself for sleep with a regular bedtime routine.

Sleep for your mental health!

-The Team at down etc

Read more:

5 Ways to Optimize Sleep to Reduce Stress

5 Ways Light Can Affect Your Sleep


DISCLAIMER: You should not rely on any of the foregoing as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical or health and wellness advice, diagnosis, or treatment by a healthcare professional. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional or medical advice, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist, such as a licensed physician, psychologist, or other health professional. Never disregard the medical advice of a physician, psychologist, or other health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of the information or content offered or provided on the Site. The use of the Site and all information and content contained thereon is solely at your own risk.

Published: May 1, 2024

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