Sleep and mental health have a pretty close relationship that most people living with mood disorders may not know about. Sleep deprivation can mess up your emotional processing, increasing your odds of developing or worsening a mental health condition. Similarly, certain disorders can result in insomnia.
The Two-Way Link to Mental Wellness
People living with mental illnesses may need to understand the importance of sleep on their recovery journey. Sleep allows your brain to rest and recharge. Good sleeping patterns enable your brain to process and consolidate memories, emotions and process information. Poor sleep can negatively impact your mood and emotional reactivity, which can worsen mental health. Chronic sleep problems can also prevalent in patients with psychiatric conditions.
How Mental Health Problems Affect Your Sleep
If you are diagnosed with a mental illness, the condition may affect the quality of your sleep in multiple ways. For example:
Depression: Insomnia and other sleeping disorders can be a symptom of depression. Conversely, depression can cause people to sleep too much, extending their period in bed.
Psychiatric Medication: Your psychiatrist may have prescribed a list of medicines to help manage your condition. However, certain medications can have side effects that include disturbed sleep, hallucinations, and insomnia. However, stopping your medication may also result in sleeping problems.
Anxiety: Anxiety disorders can keep you up all night with thoughts and worries racing through your mind. Besides, stress can lead to panic attacks that can make it difficult to sleep through the night.
PTSD: Trauma can cause flashbacks, nightmares, or night terrors that can push you to stay awake all night. You may also feel uncomfortable or afraid to sleep alone in the dark.
Sleep deprivation patterns are also common in other mental illnesses, including psychosis, mania, and bipolar disorder.
How Sleeping Problems Can Aggravate Your Mental Illness
Research indicates that sleep-deprived individuals are more likely to feel depressed, anxious, or suicidal. Additionally, sleep paralysis can also trigger paranoia, mania, and other psychotic episodes. Struggling to concentrate or relate with other people can lead to bouts of depression.
Improving Your Sleep Can Help Improve Your Mental Health
You can fasten your recovery journey by getting enough sleep every night. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help you identify healthy patterns that can allow you to sleep better without any prescription.
Your doctor or therapist can help you identify a sleep-wake schedule for you to follow. It may involve getting ready for bed at around the same time every night and waking up at a particular time.
You may also have a sleep journal that helps you document your sleeping patterns. You may also need to avoid staying in bed for more than fifteen minutes without sleep. If the period lapses, you should wake up and perform relaxing activities like listening to your favorite song or reading a book.
You may need to work with a mental health specialist to identify healthy sleeping patterns that you can adopt to help improve your mental wellbeing.
Your mental health and sleep may be more intricately linked than you’d like to imagine. You can work with a mental health professional to identify good sleeping habits that reduce the effects on your recovery.
This article was written by a freelance writer