We’re exploring the role sleep has to play in benefitting our mental health
Mental health and wellbeing has become a growing topic of discussion over the last few years, across all walks of life. There are many different factors that can affect our mental health – from our diet and exercise routine to our social media use and day job.
Feelings of stress, anxiety and depression can fluctuate dramatically depending on our lifestyle habits. One such habit is how we sleep. Sleep is just as important to our health as eating, drinking and breathing. When we sleep, we are allowing our body to repair itself and our brains to process information from the previous day, consolidating our memories and helping us understand things more clearly.
Research has shown that the psychological symptoms and effects of sleep deprivation can include:
- Low mood
- Erratic behaviour
- Poor cognitive functioning and performance (such as slower thinking, making mistakes more frequently and poor memory)
- Psychotic episodes
Mental health and insomnia
Poor sleep habits, and conditions such as insomnia, are linked to many physical problems such as a weakened immune system. But they can also affect our mental state.
Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, estimated to affect around one in five people. The most common symptoms of insomnia include experiencing problems falling asleep and staying asleep, so that you wake up several times throughout the night. Insomnia sufferers also commonly wake up too early and feel sleepy throughout the day.
Other symptoms of insomnia include impaired concentration and memory, irritability and anxiety.
Short term insomnia lasts for a few nights or weeks at most and can be caused by mental health concerns such as stress. If you are going through a particularly stressful period, you may find that your sleep suffers as a result.
Other causes of short-term insomnia include a change in temperature, noise level or routine (sometimes due to jet lag). It may also be the result of certain medications.
Chronic insomnia can be defined as an inability to sleep properly over a period of months or even years. It can be both the cause and result of several physical and mental health concerns. Chronic insomnia may also be due to behavioural factors such as too much alcohol or caffeine, or a significant life change.
Improving your sleep health
If your mental health is being significantly affected by a lack of sleep, and you feel you may be suffering from a sleep disorder like insomnia, it’s important to seek the advice of a doctor so they can help you get to the root of your symptoms.
There are certain measures you can take yourself to improve your sleep quality too, including:
- Establishing a regular sleep-wake cycle, waking up and going to bed at roughly the same time every day
- Ensuring your bedroom is comfortable (by examining factors like noise, light and temperature)
- Limiting your consumption of stimulants like caffeine, alcohol and nicotine
- Avoiding going to bed until you feel genuinely drowsy and ready to sleep
- Engaging in regular daily exercise
- Avoiding electronic devices in the hour leading up to sleep
Putting these simple changes in place can help to improve your night’s sleep, supporting your mental health in the process.
A great night’s sleep starts with the right sleep environment. And there’s no better way to get comfort, pressure relief and temperature right than by investing in a Mammoth mattress. We use technologies developed and proven in healthcare, as well as tried and tested materials, to offer the very best in sleep health. Click here to find your nearest retailer today and test drive a Mammoth for yourself.