July 10, 2018
People often overlook the benefits of a good sleep, especially in today’s fast-paced society. Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on a person’s mental state that we simply shouldn’t shrug it off. It can be tempting to skimp on sleep when you’ve got so much work to do or when the TV series you are watching is just way too good. But knowing how sleep affects memory or how sleep affects stress may just keep you from giving in to the temptation. Learn more about how sleep deprivation affects health, and you will never go sleepless again.
Sleep is essential for a well-functioning central nervous system. New neural pathways are established in your brain while you sleep. The lack of sleep can have negative effects on both your long-term and short-term memory. Research shows nerve connections that create memories are strengthened while a person is asleep. Sleep deprivation can easily lead to forgetfulness and trouble learning new things. Remember this the next time you think of foregoing sleep to prepare for an important exam or report at work.
Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your emotions. A study by the University of California – Berkeley revealed the amygdala, the brain’s emotional center, is around 60% more active in sleep deprived people compared to those who have slept well. The research also revealed a weakened connection between the amygdala and the frontal lobe, which means skimping on sleep lessens your ability to control your emotions.
Neurochemistry studies show quality sleep helps people develop emotional resilience. Chronic sleep problems, on the other hand, engender negative thought patterns and cause emotional vulnerability. People who are sleep-deprived are more likely to get depressed, angry, and unable to cope with stress. Chronic sleep deprivation can even lead to hallucinations and trigger mania in people with bipolar disorder. Furthermore, sleep deprivation results in slow reaction time, distorted thinking, and impaired judgment. This means driving while sleep-deprived is as bad as drunk driving. Lack of sleep also leads to an increased production of the stress hormone cortisol, making you even more stressed out and likely to gain weight.
People who are sleep-deprived are less likely to eat a healthy diet, exercise, have sex, and take part in leisure activities.
Poor sleeping habits like falling asleep without switching off the television can affect both the quality and quantity of your sleep. Research has shown that exposure to too much light while sleeping is associated with an increase in suicidal thoughts and symptoms of depression. The exact causal connection has yet to be discovered, but scientists are suggesting excess unnatural light may have a negative effect on the natural circadian rhythm of the body. Researchers further hypothesize that unnatural light could be affecting the natural secretion pattern of melatonin, a hormone that is naturally present in our brain and that helps people fall asleep and regulates sleep quality.
Beyond just the lack of sleep, irregular sleep schedules can also be harmful to a person’s mental health. Inconsistent sleeping routines among school children have been linked to behavioral problems. Some mental health issues are also common among those who work night shifts. There’s even a disorder called the “Shift Work Sleep Disorder.” As sleep helps develop emotional resilience, chronic sleep disruptions brought about by irregular sleep patterns increase the likelihood of a disturbed mental state.
The causal pathway goes both ways, with existing mental health conditions leading to sleep issues. 50% to 80% of people undergoing treatment for psychiatric problems are experiencing chronic sleep problems, while only 10% to 18% of the general adult population are affected by it. Those with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are especially vulnerable to the problem.
Now that you are more aware of the serious effects of sleep deprivation, you have more incentive to get better sleep at night. There are several ways to make this happen. For starters, take the time to clear your mind so you can ease yourself to sleep more easily.
It can get difficult to think rationally in the middle of the night when you are left alone with your thoughts. Being awake in the dark while the rest of the world sleeps can make you feel isolated, and this is just the right breeding ground for negative thoughts, depression, and anxiety. Even those who do not suffer from any mental disorder can find their mind wandering to things that have happened in the past and to worries about the future. You can deal with this by allocating 20 minutes of your bedtime to writing down everything that is on your mind or that may be causing you to worry. This is a therapeutic way for you to draw a line and leave your thoughts behind so you can finally get your sleep.
As mentioned above, unnatural light can wreak havoc on your body’s circadian rhythm. You can avoid this by keeping your bedroom dark and free of gadgets. Avoid checking your smartphone and tablet before bedtime, and check out of your gadgets at least an hour before your scheduled bedtime. The right night light can also make a difference. Using red light increases drowsiness and promotes quality sleep.
And there’s your mattress to consider. Make sure it is comfortable enough as to not disrupt your sleep. Uratex Premium Orthocare provides back support and pressure relief to ensure your bed is comfortable and conducive to a good night’s sleep. Uratex Perfect Serenity will make you feel like you’re sleeping on feather-light clouds, just the relaxation you need for a sweet slumber.
Sticking to a regular sleep schedule will synchronize your body clock and help your body prepare for sleep every night. To establish a routine for better sleep, make sure you get up at the same time every morning. Set an alarm and get out of bed as soon as it goes off. Avoid spending too much time in bed during the day as this will lessen your drive to sleep when nighttime comes. If you are unable to sleep at night, leave the bedroom and do something that will distract you, like reading a book. Your bed should only be for sleeping, so you are conditioned to do so while you’re in it. And do not hesitate to seek medical help if you think you have a mental disorder that’s keeping you from having a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is so important to your mental health that you should definitely give it the attention it deserves. From looking at the best Uratex mattresses to working tirelessly until you’ve established a working sleep routine, you should do whatever it takes to get the right sleep every night.