Study Finds Lack Of Sleep Can Severely Harm Your Mental Health

According to the Sleep Foundation, 2/3 of Americans don’t feel rested when they get up. This probably doesn’t sound surprisingly to most of us. Weekdays can be exhausting if you try to get everything done.

Just think about it: after at least 8 hours at work and 1 hour commute you have to go home and take care of kids, cook, do the dishes and maybe get prepared for the next day too. Students have a difficult time getting a good night’s sleep too, especially during exam sessions. People with stressful jobs also have troubles sleeping.

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Relation between sleep issues and mental health

The really bad news is that sleep disturbances are common in patients with some sort of mental disorders like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and ADHD. Based on several studies, we now know that patients struggling with depression suffer from sleep disturbances like insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea. Up to 90% of adults and children with major depression deal with a certain sleep problem.

The statistics aren’t encouraging for bipolar persons either, as they revealed that more than 69% of patients suffer from insomnia during the manic phase of this disorder. On the other hand, patients tend to sleep too much during the depressive episode or may experience restless sleep.

Half of the adults suffering from GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) don’t have a normal sleep. For example, anxious children fall asleep harder and don’t enjoy a deep resting sleep. Insomnia worsens anxiety especially if you deal with this on a daily basis. This sleep condition is also believed to be a cause of depression.

Children diagnosed with ADHD may have abnormal sleep patterns. They may find it difficult to fall asleep and wake up earlier than normal children. Apart from duration, the quality of these children’s sleep is affected too because they might experience restless slumber.

Simple tips to improve the quality of your sleep

If you want to maintain your mental health intact, it’s time to take steps toward resolving your sleep problems. Make sure to regularly perform aerobic exercises and to avoid smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages before you go to sleep. This way, you are likely to fall asleep easier and to increase the duration of deep sleep that our body needs.

Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same hours every day in order to get your body accustomed to a stable sleep-wake schedule. Your bedroom should be kept dark when it’s time to sleep because artificial light promotes insomnia. Watching TV or using your tablet, phone, laptop etc. right before bed will keep you awake longer.

If all else fails…

If you can’t manage your sleep problems, it is time to go to a sleep specialist, a psychiatrist or a therapist (especially if you think that insomnia is related to emotional stress). There may be deeper causes of your not being able to fall asleep. Cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation techniques may help you get rid of insomnia by addressing the root of the problem.

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