How Sleep Impacts Your Mental Health

medication for insomnia

It is a well known fact that sleep is closely linked with good mental health. However, an increasing number of people are either not getting enough sleep or not getting the quality of sleep they need. Harvard Medical School reports that up to 18% of adults in the United States are currently experiencing chronic sleep problems. Interestingly, the increase in sleep issues in the United States correlates with the rising rate of mental health problems in the country.

Many people with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression do not get the sleep they need. This fact is supported by a number of clinical studies. However, a lack of sleep over an extended period of time may directly contribute to the development of mental health issues. It is easy to understand how things may spiral out of control if a person has severe sleep and mental health problems but chooses not to work with a healthcare professional.

Types of Sleep Issues

According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are roughly 80 different types of sleep disorders. Some of the most common are:

  • Insomnia – hard to fall asleep and stay asleep
  • Narcolepsy – overwhelming drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep at any time 
  • Restless legs syndrome – an uncontrollable urge to move your legs
  • Sleep paralysis – you feel conscious but cannot move
  • Parasomnias – unusual behaviors that disrupt your sleep (such as talking while asleep)
  • Sleep apnea – your breathing stops and starts repeatedly during sleep
  • Circadian disorders – sleep problems when your sleep cycle is not in tune with your environment

What Happens When You Do Not Get Enough Sleep?

It is obvious that a person who does not get enough sleep will feel tired the next day. However, a chronic lack of sleep can disrupt cognitive function and lead to more serious cognitive and emotional issues such as memory problems in older people, learning disabilities in children, changes in an individual’s personality, and mood issues such as depression.

People who are sleep deprived tend to be more irritable, make bad decisions, and perform worse at work or school. They also have slower reaction times than normal and that puts them at higher risk for work-related or car accidents. Of course, a prolonged lack of sleep can also contribute to physical health issues. For example, people who routinely do not get enough sleep are more likely to develop diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.   

How to Get Better Sleep

Before you can get better sleep, you first need to identify the reason you are not currently getting the sleep you need. If you are a hot sleeper, invest in a better cooling mattress. Once you know what the underlying problem is, you will be in a better position to fix it. For example, a person who is depressed may be able to get more sleep if he works with a therapist to elevate his depressed mood. Similarly, an individual who is diagnosed with anxiety may be better able to stay asleep if he learns how to manage his anxiety attacks during his therapy sessions.

Other common strategies to improve the length or quality of sleep include:

  • Sleeping in a room that is completely dark
  • Closing windows to reduce noise from outside
  • Going to bed earlier
  • Turning off all electronic devices
  • Sleeping with an eye mask
  • Sleeping with earbuds
  • Listen to relaxing music

While these strategies work for some people, they may not be as effective for people with severe sleep issues. These individuals may benefit more from taking medication. For example, some people may buy Zopiclone to help themselves fall asleep. In fact, approved medications such as Zopiclone 10mg and Melatonin 10mg UK have received many positive reviews from people who struggle with insomnia.