Sleeping Patterns and Our Mental HealthSleep plays a major role in our mental health simply because our bodies and minds need proper sleep to function well and stay healthy. There is a direct correlation between a lack of sleep and worsening physical and mental health. A lack of sleep can contribute to anxiety, depression and even suicidal ideation. Healthy adults need an average of 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Sleep loss can alter a person’s mood, causing them to be irritable, angry and unable to cope with stress. If this continues for too long, insufficient sleep can cause mental health issues and worsen the person’s immune system.
What Does Our Mental Health Do to Our Sleeping PatternsIn addition to correlation, there is a cyclical pattern between lack of sleep and mental health problems. A lack of sleep can cause new mental health problems to emerge or worsen existing ones. At the same time, mental health problems themselves can lead to a lack of sleep. For example, anxiety can cause worrying thoughts that keep you awake. You then begin to worry about your lack of sleep, which can increase your anxiety and further stop you from sleeping. Some common examples of how sleep plays a role with depression are:
- Staying up late for reasons caused by depression. A depressed person may feel lethargic and unmotivated, so even the idea of going to bed sounds exhausting. Or, they want to distract themselves from negative feelings, so they can stay up watching television, for example.
- Sleeping too much because of depression. When someone is depressed, simple tasks like showering and eating can feel like monumental hurdles. Instead, the person stays in bed and sleeps all day as they don’t have the motivation to get up. In which case, they might even go to bed early because of depression.
- Feeling Depressed only at night. Everyone experiences depression differently. Some people find that their depression intensifies or only comes through at night. This could be for various reasons but it can also lead to or intensify insomnia, further intensifying the depression.