A lack of proper sleep can cause problems in the brain, including mental disorders. Sleep is critical for physical and mental acuity as well as mood and energy levels.
That seems obvious but…
People suffering from depression seem to have problems sleeping. It’s not conclusive if poor / good sleep contributes to poor / good mental health or if poor / good mental health contributes to poor / good sleep patterns.
Required sleep ranges between 5 to 10 hours daily. It varies greatly over the population base. The average person needs 7 to 8 hours of regular sleep. If you get tired easily, sleep deprivation may be one cause of the fatigue. Diet could be another. Falling asleep too quickly or waking up prematurely are signs of a potential issues. There is a list of many.
While there are conditions such as narcolepsy or sleep apnoea that are direct sleep disorder, it is more likely that an external factor is contributing to poor sleep.
Nightmares or sleepwalking.
Poor diet or stress.
Habits and lifestyle.
Technology. A century ago technology interfered less. No lights, so at sunset you slept. Phones, television, computers. Constant, 24/7 exposure. For some, that’s too much stimulation.
Physical disorders such as diabetes or a heart condition.
Trauma or phobias
Medication for a different health issue.
All these things can cause interference in your sleep patterns. There is likely an underlying issue to your poor sleep. Ultimately, treatment is mandatory. The list of issues as a result of poor sleep is long:
- confusion and memory loss
- depression and anxiety
- aching body including head and muscles
- coldness in the body
- sinus and eye issues – baggy eyes, clogged nose, etc.
- Diabetes, hypertension, blood pressure and stress related problems
- temper, irritability, poor attention span, moodiness, highly emotional
- obesity and eating issues
Good sleep contributes to a very happy and healthy life.
It builds and maintains a strong immune and nervous system.
It helps your body rejuvenate and provides healthy cell growth and hormone production.
All the basis for a more complete life.
solutions and treatments to better sleep
It is important to look at treatments and solutions for sleep issues. Here are a few habits and preventative measures that can be taken:
- set a schedule and add rituals to your life (reading at night instead of falling asleep in front of the television) and sleep from night time to sunrise to improve the natural circadian rhythm of your body
- create a relaxing environment in a dark, quiet room used only for sleep, dressing & sex
- get exercise during the day, not right before bed to stimulate hormonal balances
- improve your diet – better foods, natural foods, no eating in the evening
- avoid nicotine, caffeine, sugar and night time eating
- get up if you can’t sleep
- meditative practices can help keep you relaxed and relieve your stress, paving the way for better sleep.
- Find a sleep clinic
Medication is not usually the answer and could be the cause of your sleep disorder. If you are having a problem, consult with your doctor to discuss your options and the possible side effects of your prescription. Perhaps it can be eliminated.
Sleep while not the only answer is part of the formula to good health. Make sure you are promoting good sleep habits to develop a greater chance of minimizing the impact on your mental health issues.
Michael Bengston, M.D. Sleep Disorders and Insomnia, Psych Central, http://psychcentral.com/disorders/sleep/