Do you know the saying “morning is wiser than evening”? This expression, which originates from the Russian fairy tale Vasilisa the Beautiful, is used to warn someone better sleep With the initial reaction and wait for the response. In many ways, it has to do with the power of sleep over mental health, as it is more than just a relief after a tiring day.
The relationship between sleep quality and mental well-being is complex, but one that you can improve with some practice and proper care of yourself. We’ll explore this, as well as other ways sleep affects our minds, emotions, and mental health.
What is sleep?
Sleep is a natural state of the body and mind when certain systems slow down their activities, regenerate, detoxify, and repair. Adult humans need 7 to 9 hours of sleep according to the scientific community, although a small percentage of people only need 6. The cause of our sleep is subject to several theories, all of which offer valid explanations and each is true to some extent.
Sleep consists of cycles and each has four phases – three non-rapid eye movements, or NREM, and one rapid eye movement, or REM, phase. During one night, you can have several cycles that can last from 90 to 120 minutes. The REM stage is when our brain processes memories and emotions, which help us feel relaxed and in a good state of mind.
The difficult relationship between stress and sleep
High levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, can lead to insomnia and difficulty sleeping. In turn, you will sleep less and weaker, so you will feel more stressed when you wake up than you did before you went to bed.
To understand why cortisol is the enemy of sleep, you need to know more about its antagonist – melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone secreted at night, which is responsible for the sleep-wake cycle. When melatonin is low and cortisol is high, we feel awake and our sleep patterns are affected.
However, sleep is a great stress reducer. Trying to get good rest when stressed and manage stress when lack of sleep seems daunting. However, if you keep your stress under control through talk therapy, physical activity, or any other means, you can achieve a healthy balance of cortisol and melatonin.
sleep and depression
According to a 2011 study review, researchers found that people who had insomnia but not depression, had greater chances of developing this mental condition in time. While sleep disturbances, such as insomnia, can be signs of depression, these findings have shown that it may also be the other way around. However, insomnia should not be left untreated as it can cause other physiological problems and negatively affect cognitive abilities.
Using CBT to treat insomnia can reduce depression and enhance overall well-being. Feeling rested, energized, and a clear head after the recommended amount of sleep can give you the strength to deal with your depression and improve your mental health.
Other mental health and sleep problems
Anxiety is characterized by feelings of anxiety and fear that turn into a state when you constantly think and feel overstimulated. While it can cause sleep problems, it can also be exacerbated by the inability to sleep and insomnia. Bipolar disorder, PTSD, ADHD, and other mental health conditions also follow sleep deprivation.
Identifying a mental problem can make a big difference to your recovery and normal sleep patterns. Medications, therapy, and healthy habits and hobbies can help a person control their mental health and live a normal life.
Sleep can make you happy
We mentioned the relationship between depression and sleep, or lack thereof. Therefore, it is pertinent to talk about how sleep and happiness go hand in hand. Mental health is a taboo subject in many societies and many people are afraid to get proper help. But that is changing day by day, thanks to social media and Gen Z’s openness to their feelings and struggles online.
Work on accepting your body, your diversity, and your differencesYou will be more at peace with your inner self. You will find a way to love yourself and others as they are, and seek composed and respectful solutions at work and in private life. All of this is not possible if you slept for a few hours and woke up tired, upset and grumpy for not having more time to stay in bed. Loving yourself means taking care of your health, and getting a good sleep falls into this category.
When hormones go crazy
There are many reasons why the hormones in your body stop working properly, one of them is lack of sleep. Lack of sleep leads to a chemical imbalance in the brain, which affects our mood and leads to emotional instability. When we don’t get enough sleep, the endocrine system, which regulates hormones, “disrupts” and upsets the hormonal balance.
For example, the body needs serotonin to produce melatonin, which is the sleep hormone. If we don’t sleep wellWe feel more stressed and our cortisol levels suppress serotonin, the happiness hormone, making us anxious and depressed. Simply put, the better you sleep, the happier you will be.
Set your daily rhythm
The circadian rhythm is a biological process that is best explained by hourly measurement. To show the right time, you need to fill it in regularly and respect the schedule that it represents. You have to get up in the morning and go to sleep in the evening because our circadian rhythm depends on the light and dark cycle of days.
Mental issues can be one of the things that disrupt your circadian rhythm and cause you to stay up at night and sleep all day. It can also lead to insomnia, depression, loss of motivation and lack of enthusiasm. You can fix this by adopting a daily routine that helps you return to a normal circadian rhythm, such as getting up and going to bed at the same time.
Additionally, pull curtains over windows to block out light and use a sleep mask. Leave your phone out of the bedroom or as far away from your bed as possible, and read a book instead. Soothing sounds from a sleep device may also help, but if you need silence, use earplugs and close windows to block out traffic.
Ambient sleep and quality
It’s not enough just to go to bed early and get the recommended hours of sleep. You also need to make sure that your environment is comfortable and enables you to fall asleep easily. From silk pillowcases, soft linens, and appropriate mattresses to sound machines and darkened rooms, these are all factors that can help you sleep better.
Moreover, you need to calm yourself down and try not to think about negative thoughts when you go to bed. Meditation, breathing techniques, and herbal medicine can calm you enough to fall asleep, but it’s not something that happens instantly and requires patience. As mentioned, a good night’s sleep with mental health are interrelated, so to improve one you need to take care of the other as well.
Can you make up for lost sleep?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. You can recover from a lack of sleep if you have more hours of sleep the next day, but it won’t work if you do it all the time. For example, it will take four days to make up for only one day An hour of lost sleep. But if sacrificing sleep becomes a habit, it can have serious consequences for your health.
Sleep deprivation can lead to many health conditions, such as heart attack, diabetes, and stroke. Mentally, they can have the same dangerous effect, causing hallucinations, agitation, and even brain damage. Schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease are also common in people with chronic sleep deprivation.
Things you can do to sleep better
Besides meditation, calm environmentIn CBT, you can do other things to help you sleep. For example, start living a healthier life by quitting bad habits, such as smoking and drinking alcohol.
Nicotine creates a dependency that is similar to the addiction experienced by heroin addicts. When you sleep for the required 7-9 hours, your body begins to withdraw and starts craving a cigarette. In turn, you can develop insomnia, have nightmares, and often wake up at night to smoke.
Coffee and tea are other factors that may disturb sleep if you consume them later in the afternoon and evening. Both drinks contain caffeine, a substance that blocks normal processes in the brain, and makes us feel tired and sleepy. The good news is that you don’t have to stop drinking coffee, but only have it in the morning and afternoon, or switch to decaffeinated coffees.
We need sleep just as we need air, food and water. The body and mind need time off from keeping us awake. The power of sleep on mental health and happiness is reflected in the responsibility we take to ourselves – in self-care, self-love, and a willingness to change for the better.
Nina Simmons He is a lifestyle blogger, yoga enthusiast, travel lover and has a distinct taste for home decor. She is passionate about learning new things and sharing meaningful ideas. In her spare time, she loves to design clothes and furniture. If you want to see what you want you can find them Twitter.
Featured image provided by Andrea Piacquadio.