Sleep And Mental Health
Sleeping is a natural function of the human body that everyone needs to recharge and prepare for the coming day. Much like our laptops and smartphones, our bodies need that time to turn off and cool down. They can use this time to even heal after the day. Sleep can also have an impact on your emotional and mental wellbeing, making it a necessary part of maintaining your mental health.
Our bodies have built-in biological clocks that, when working properly, help us regulate when and how we sleep. This biological clock is called a circadian rhythm. It uses things like your environment’s lighting to know when your body should release natural sleep-aid chemicals called melatonin.
Once you’re asleep, you cycle through stages of rest. These are called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep cycles. They can have an impact on processes like your temperature, heartbeat and breathing. REM sleep cycles can also affect:
- How rested you feel the next day
- Your ability to form and retain memories/information
- Body repairs overnight
- Puberty and fertility
- Your immune system
In order to receive the full benefits of sleep, it’s important you go through all of the stages of REM sleep and receive the proper hours needed. Adults generally need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep to function properly, but that doesn’t mean our children need the same amount. In fact, teenagers and young children need anywhere from 8 to 12 hours of sleep a day in order to function well and feel good the next day!
Sleep and Mental Health
If you don’t receive the necessary amount of sleep, you can negatively impact yourself more than just feeling tired and groggy in the morning. A lack of sleep or disturbances in your sleeping patterns can actually affect your long-term mental health:
- Sleep disorders can increase your risk of developing depression.
- People with both depression and insomnia can respond less to treatment compared to those without a sleep disorder.
- Sleeping problems can worsen anxiety disorders.
You can improve your sleeping habits by creating a consistent schedule, staying away from technology and bright lights near bedtime and avoiding caffeine in the afternoon. Comanche County Memorial Hospital’s Center for Sleep Medicine also has some wonderful resources and tips for how to sleep better.
If you believe you may need an official diagnosis of sleep disorder or further help maintaining healthy sleep, you can also contact CCMH’s Center For Sleep Medicine to schedule an appointment with one of our professionals at (580) 250-0988.
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Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-science-of-sleep-understanding-what-happens-when-you-sleep
Medline Plus. https://medlineplus.gov/healthysleep.html
Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/sleep-and-mental-health