How are a good night's sleep and mental health connected?

How are a good night’s sleep and mental health connected?

A good night’s sleep can work wonders for a person’s physical, emotional, and mental health. Sleeping allows the brain and the body to rest giving them the time to recuperate and rejuvenate. This is the reason why most elders would insist on a good night’s sleep before taking any major decisions or appearing for major exams.

Mental health and sleep have a bidirectional relationship. People suffering from mental health disorders find it difficult to sleep and poor sleepers are prone to develop mental health disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and other similar conditions. Scientists also believe that treating sleep disorders can help in treating mental disorders and managing their symptoms.

The connection between mental health and sleep

Sleeping consists of two cycles – NREM (Non rapid eye movement) and REM (Rapid Eye Movement). Both these cycles play an important role in boosting mental health and improving memory, learning, and thinking. During the NREM cycle, brain activity slows down whereas during REM, brain activity increases significantly.

When a person is asleep, the brain processes emotional information. It evaluates what happened during the day and creates memories, thoughts and emotional resilience. On the other hand, when the brain does not get adequate time to complete this processing, it adversely affects brain health, as the emotional data collected during the day is not processed in a positive manner. This influences mood and emotional reactivity becoming a huge contributor to poor mental health and aggravating difficult mental and mood disorders. It is observed that people with suicidal behavior and ideation are usually poor sleepers and treating their sleep conditions helps manage their symptoms effectively.

Americans are poor sleepers

Research indicates that a third of the American population is affected by sleep disorders and 50 to 80 percent of this population suffers from mental disorders like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In addition to mental health disorders, poor sleep cycles also affect physical health increasing the possibility of developing cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an adult should sleep for seven to nine hours a day. This recommendation changes with age and conditions specific to an individual. While the latest technology is helping us to understand the relationship between sleep and mental disorders, it is also responsible for eating into our sleep time. Social media, online entertainment platforms, on-demand TV, and video games are some examples why a lot of us are getting much less than the suggested eye-shut. Not sleeping for three or more successive nights can produce delusions, hallucinations and distort an individual’s perception.

Though the relationship between sleep and mental health conditions still warrants more research, the existent evidence suggests that sleep and mental disorders do have a bi-directional relationship that needs further investigation.

Treating mental health disorders

Both physical and mental health play an important role in determining the overall wellbeing of an individual. While we pay great attention to our physical health, we tend to ignore our mental health or take it lightly. Struggling with a mental health disorder can be draining and unbearable as it affects not only one’s personal but also professional and social life. However, seeking treatment for such disorders at the earliest can help an individual live a productive and healthy life.

If you or a loved one is battling a mental health disorder contact the California Mental Health Helpline. We offer credible information about evidence-based mental health treatment centers and programs available. Call our 24/7 mental health treatment helpline 855-559-3923 and talk to our representative to know about the finest mental health treatment centers offering holistic mental health treatment programs that combine medication management, therapies, and alternative treatment options. You can also use our live chat service to get in touch with one of our representatives for more information about credible mental health care.