Whether you have a mental health diagnosis or not, the reality is that a lack of sleep can impact your mental well-being. To help you understand why it's important to do what you can to improve your sleep, take a look at the connection between sleep and mental well-being:
A lack of sleep causes a lack of focus
If you're not sleeping well, it may show up on the job. Staying up all night because you have issues with teeth grinding, anxiety, or simply are going through a lot may be impacting your life beyond you just feeling tired.
Some people with intense sleep issues or insomnia may find it challenging to keep their jobs, as optimal functioning isn't always possible when you're dealing with a lack of sleep. You've probably experienced days where you went out the night before and have seen how hard it can be to stay focused on your job, so imagine dealing with multiple nights of poor sleep. It can impact your cognitive behavior more than you realize.
You may find yourself more irritable
If you're someone who is usually pretty steady when it comes to your mood, when you're not getting enough sleep, you may find yourself abnormally moody or irritated. You may find yourself bothered by things that otherwise wouldn't irritate you, and some of this may be due to the reasons mentioned above.
As you strive to get through your daily tasks while feeling exhausted, it makes sense that you could be more prone to irritability as a side effect. Additionally, your “happy chemicals” get depleted with a lack of sleep.
A lack of sleep can lead to mental health crises
The thing is that too many nights of poor sleep can lead to some mental health crises. For those who already struggle with a mental health challenge, the loop can be exhausting. Their mental health leads to insomnia, while a lack of sleep can lead to more issues with depression and anxiety. This can then lead to the fear that you won't get the sleep you need, causing more issues with insomnia.
Once someone is stuck in this loop, it can be a challenge to get out of it. While they may eventually fall asleep due to exhaustion, some people who deal with this could experience psychosis or hallucinations during the time that they're awake.
Oversleeping as a result of depression
The connection between sleep and mental health doesn't only have to do with insomnia. The reality is that there is such a thing as sleeping too much. Sometimes, those with serious depression are only able to deal with it through sleeping.
They may sleep for up to 17 hours or more, which not only interrupts their sleep pattern but can also disrupt their day-to-day. Because a lack of sleep can lead to depression, some people go through loops of no sleep followed by an abundance of sleep, making it hard for them to regulate their sleep schedule.
Obviously, a lack of sleep can be detrimental to your long-term health, both physically and mentally. It may not be easy to find solutions, but you'll want to consider speaking to your doctor about things that can help. You may need a mandibular advancement device if you are dealing with sleep apnea, which can impact your sleep.
Or maybe your psychiatrist will prescribe you some medications to help you drift off more easily at night. It could be as simple as learning how to relax and taking a spa day that helps you get better sleep. While it may not always be easy to find solutions to insomnia, the connection between good mental health and quality sleep can't be ignored.
Whatever can help you sleep at night is worth paying attention to. If you need to change your room environment or improve your exercise levels to help you sleep better, do it. Speak to your medical provider today about things that could help you get better sleep.