Sleep Benefits: The Not-So Talked about Benefits of Sleep for Mental Health Issues

There’s no denying that sleep is an important part of life that allows you to function daily –even more so for your mental health. In a poor state of mind, you could be doing tasks just like any regular person but you may feel miserable, sad, not present, groggy, or downright depressed. It’s not ideal and yet so many sleep-deprived individuals deal with these symptoms everyday due to a lack of sleep.

couple sleeping peacefully.
Happy couple sleeping in a comfortable bed at home

Perhaps we need a reminder for just how beneficial true, quality sleep really is for one’s mental health. Here are just some of it’s less talked about perks that might just convince you to take sleep more seriously.

1. Quality sleep helps with your energy

When you have a mental health problem, you may find it hard to pull yourself together. Lethargy and tiredness are also other common symptoms and sometimes, they’re a side effect of the medication prescribed to you by your doctor. By making sleep a priority, you can maintain enough energy throughout the day and avoid these symptoms.

2. Quality sleep helps prevent mental health issues from worsening

When you have sleep problems, you’re more likely to feel anxious, depressed or suicidal. You may also have more psychotic episodes as poor sleep can trigger mania, psychosis, or paranoia. Of course, some will not have symptoms as severe as these but for those with mental health problems, a lack of sleep can act as a trigger that worsens their existing symptoms. 

3. Quality sleep helps regulate your emotions

Not getting enough sleep the night before can cause you to feel slow, groggy, irritable, forgetful, inattentive, impulsive, and prone to anger. It’s amazing how much sleep affects your mood and feelings. When you get enough rest, you allow your body enough time to restore all the chemicals it needs to regulate your emotions properly. As a result, you feel more calm, relaxed, and happy. 

4. Quality sleep helps regulate your hormones

Scientists have found that a poor sleep causes chemical imbalances in the brain, which includes the hormones. The body is amazing in a way that it’s able to regulate 50 different hormones that make it possible for it to function optimally whether it’s our immune system, healing from wounds, regulating appetite, and much more. 

But when we don’t get enough sleep, it causes imbalances that make the hormones send the wrong message to the body. This would explain why we eat beyond satiation or don’t recover as quickly from an injury when we don’t get enough rest. 

5. Quality sleep helps with stress

A lack of sleep can lead to too much cortisol in the body. Some cortisol is good but too much of it can cause you to be too alert, even to situations that don’t require such response. When you’re in a constant state of alertness, it can be hard to relax. With enough sleep, you’re able to regulate this hormone more efficiently so you don’t feel as stressed and reactive during the day.

BONUS: Tips for Sleeping Better

Make your environment sleep-friendly

Your sleeping environment should be conducive to sleep. That means your bedroom should be dark, cool, quiet, and comfortable. 

Use Sleep Aids

You can employ sleep aids that help increase your chances of falling asleep such as blackout curtains, a humidifier, or a sleep mask. Others find that their anxiety can be calmed with a weighted blanket. Figure out what causes you stay awake and find the right sleep aid that addresses that problem. 

Avoid Over-stimulation

Overstimulation before bed can make it hard to fall asleep. Try to avoid highly stimulating activities hours before bed and replace it with a bedtime routine instead. For example, rather than scrolling through social media an hour before bed, maybe take a warm bath instead or drink chamomile tea.
What is your sleep quality like? And how has it impacted your mental health? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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