Best-selling author of The Sleep Advantage, founder of Sleep Science Academy, and your guide to more peaceful, restorative sleep, Devin Burke, explains the effects of sleep on mental health.
Sleep affects our mental health in many ways. First, sleep acts as emotional first-aid; with sufficient sleep, we are more emotionally stable, make better decisions, feel well emotionally, and are more capable of interpreting emotional events correctly versus when we lack restorative rest.
The Effects of Sleep on Mental Health
Numerous studies indicate the drastic effects of sleep on our emotional well-being. When we sleep well, our bodies and brains can better process emotions.
It is likely your experience that you are irritable, on edge, more emotional, and misreading emotions and other people because you are not fully present due to lack of sleep. With adequate rest, you can show up emotionally feeling confident, strong, focused, and ready to take on the day.
We tend to make better decisions and are more patient when we have sufficient rest, which makes our days run smoother and more enjoyable. Stressful situations and events diminish, and when challenges arise, we are more capable of making the best decisions, leading to better outcomes.
These positive effects lead to less emotional strain, significantly improving mental health.
Our ability to listen and concentrate increases and our communication improves with adequate sleep. Effective communication is vital to relationships, and communicating with yourself is crucial to improving mental health and stability.
The Impact on Relationships
An objective review of studies regarding sleep and relationships indicates men experiencing insufficient sleep are more likely to fight with their wives. Additional investigation reveals that even when only one person in the relationship lacks adequate rest, both suffer the consequences and increase relational conflict.
Fascinatingly, as you look deeper into some of this research on sleep, relationships, and emotions, you will discover that this is not rocket science. The revelations make common sense because this is probably the same as your experience; I know it is mine.
Poor Sleep and Depression
Sleep deprivation makes life more chaotic and dark, and research shows significant links between depression and anxiety to poor sleep. But which came first depression or insomnia?
Am I not sleeping because I’m depressed, or am I depressed because I’m not sleeping?
The answer depends on your situation. But when we don’t get the sleep we need, life feels heavier, increasingly chaotic, darker, and more negative.
I like to give the analogy that when we’re not getting the sleep we need, we have these glasses on which cast the world we see as this hostile dark place.
When we’re well-slept, those glasses come off, and we can see the opposite.
Less Sleep = More Stress Hormones
Again, when we are not getting the sleep we need, stress levels go up. Cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress in our bodies, is elevated throughout the day and continues into the night.
So many factors, from insulin to cortisol, can become out of whack when we’re not getting the sleep we need. But when we get that sleep, things stabilize. Our bodies have this incredible intelligence, knowing how to heal and stabilize themselves; our body wants to maintain homeostasis.
When our body reaches a state of homeostasis and stability, it is beneficial for mental health because stability is essential for brains and bodies. Consistency and stability come along with getting adequate sleep.
Are you experiencing issues with your sleep?
If so, I want to invite you to schedule a sleep consultation. A professional sleep coach will listen to your concerns during the conversation and discuss how Sleep Science Academy’s uniquely empowering process might help you experience more restful and restorative sleep.
In this article, you can read about Dynamic Sleep Recalibration (DSR) and how the Sleep Science Academy process can help you reach your sleep goals.
If the lack of sleep is affecting your mental health, we have the people and methods to help you turn that around. Don’t continue suffering the harsh impact of inadequate sleep on your mental health; our mission is to make your insomnia a thing of the past.