Restful sleep is essential to good physical health. However, sleep and mental health are two subjects that are also closely linked. Sleeping well on a regular basis is necessary for mental well-being. Difficulty sleeping can raise the risk of psychological problems. Conversely, treating sleep disorders may help relieve underlying psychological issues. Sleep and mental health should be taken seriously.
Americans are particularly sleep deprived. Our lifestyles, work schedules and obsessions with digital devices all play a role. Adults need seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep. However, the average American sleeps just 6.8 hours nightly, and 40% sleep less than six hours. Furthermore, 10% to 18% of the U.S adults experience some sort of chronic sleep disorder. That number jumps to between 50% and 80% among patients undergoing psychiatric treatment.
Psychological Disorders And Sleeping Difficulties
The relationship between sleep and mental health isn’t fully understood. However, studies indicate that regularly getting a good night’s sleep promotes mental well-being. Conversely, nightly bouts of disrupted sleep can bring on negative thoughts and emotional instability. Problems falling and staying asleep are especially prevalent with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders and ADHD.
Normal Sleep Consists of Two Primary Categories
The first is known as quiet sleep. This consists of four deep stages of sleep, when the muscles relax, body temperature drops and breathing and heart rate slow. Quiet sleep’s deepest stage is when physiological changes occur that boost the efficiency of your immune system.
The second category of normal sleep is rapid eye movement, or REM, which is when dreaming takes place. It’s also when the body’s temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and breathing revert to the same levels as being awake. During REM sleep, your memory, learning abilities and emotional health are enhanced. However, interruptions in sleep affect neurotransmitter and stress hormone levels. As a result, this can impair logical thinking, emotional control and psychiatric conditions. The opposite is also true, as uninterrupted sleep promotes rational thinking and helps keep moods and emotions in check.
The Effects of Disorders On Sleep and Mental Health
There are over 70 known sleep disorders. The most common are insomnia, sleep apnea, nighttime restlessness and narcolepsy. Sleep disorder frequencies and durations can vary. Here are several types of psychiatric disorders and their effects on sleep:
Depression is a mental condition that has a negative effect on moods, thoughts and actions. About 90% of patients with depression have issues with their quality of sleep. Difficulties falling and staying asleep appear to similarly increase the chances of developing depression. Furthermore, people with a history of insomnia were four times more likely to suffer from severe depression.
Bipolar Disorder causes extreme shifts in mood, energy levels and the capacity to carry out everyday tasks. Studies indicate that between 69% and 99% of people with bipolar disorder also suffer from insomnia. The lack of sleep can bring on mania, mood swings and worsening of bipolar disorder symptoms. During episodes of bipolar disorder depression, sufferers may sleep for extended periods or nap frequently throughout the day. As a result, these can trigger new manic or depressive episodes.
Anxiety Disorders cause problems sleeping in more than 50% of adults who suffer from the condition. Having anxiety is common in people with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), obsessive-compulsive disorder and various phobias. Insomnia appears to be associated with anxiety disorders. They can also affect children, causing them to take longer to fall asleep. Once they do, these children tend to sleep less deeply and restfully.
ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a neurological condition that interferes with your ability to concentrate and control your emotions. Having ADHD also disrupts your decision-making and ability to behave rationally. Other symptoms include trouble falling and staying asleep. People with ADHD may also have involuntary nighttime movements, such as restless leg syndrome, that can wake them up. As many as 11% of U.S. children have ADHD. Furthermore, about 4% of U.S. adults also suffer from the disorder. ADHD in adults is closely linked to depression, mood swings and substance abuse.
If you or someone you love is struggling with their mental health, first you should speak with a doctor. You should also consider investing in your quality of sleep. At Sit ‘n Sleep, our Sleep Consultants can help you find a mattress that’s best for you.