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The Influence of Sleep on Mental Health

A good night’s sleep can do wonders for our concentration, health, and physical stamina; but did you know that sleep also plays a crucial role in your mental health? Poor sleep is not only a symptom of poor mental health but also a cause.

When it comes to sleeping while suffering from a mental illness, many people report that it is not a restorative act. They often wind up still feeling tired due to sleep issues that arise throughout the night. Individuals suffering from a mental illness usually spend more time in a lighter sleep stage, and less time in REM stages of sleep. Lack of sleep, in turn, makes it more challenging for individuals to cope with their mental illness.

REM sleep is the period of time where our body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing increases to a state measurable to those people who are awake. When this restorative sleep is disrupted, it wreaks havoc on the brain, affecting levels of neurotransmitters and stress hormones. When your body is suffering from such a sleep schedule, it amplifies the symptoms of other psychiatric diagnoses.

Studies show that between 65-90% of individuals suffering from depression also experience some kind of sleep problem. On the other hand, sleep problems also increase the risk of developing depression. On top of that, patients who are affected by sleeping problems are less likely to respond to treatment. Sleep problems also affect more than 50% of patients with generalized anxiety disorder. In the case of bipolar disorder, studies show between 65% and 99% of individuals affected report a decreased need for sleep during manic episodes. While the effects of sleep on people suffering from mental illnesses differ on a case by case basis, the overlap between the two issues is hard to ignore.

So how can those suffering help themselves regain that restorative sleep? Aside from treatment, individuals can implement a few lifestyle changes to enhance their sleep schedule.

  • Decrease levels of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol
  • Participate in regular physical activity
  • Maintain a regular sleep and wake schedule
  • Rid the bedroom of electronics
  • Keep your bedroom dark
  • Meditation and other relaxation techniques

If you’re looking to enhance your sleeping arrangements, start with your mattress. Shovlin Mattress Factory aims to equip each individual with the proper mattress to benefit their level of sleep. Reach out to our team today to learn more.

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