Most people are mindful of the effect of mental health on sleep. Even so, there is a reason why a bad moody person is said to have “woken up on the wrong side of the bed.” As it stands, this term has a great deal of truth. Sleep is connected to emotional and mental well-being and lack of it can predispose you to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other diseases. If you are having problems staying or falling asleep, speaking with Alberto De Castro RPT, CSST is crucial.
The relationship between mental health and sleep
It is no mystery that mental health plays an important role in your sleep habits. Your mind and body must be calm for you to go asleep, free of worry and tension from the day before, the next day, or months ahead. Sleep-promoting neurons produce inhibitory neurotransmitters, which serve to relax your mind and prevent you from feeling awake and aware, allowing you to fall asleep. They also boost the number of neurons in your brain active during sleep. It can be difficult to “switch your brain off” and achieve the state of relaxation required to fall asleep if you have mental health issues. For example, when you are anxious, your body produces more cortisol and adrenaline, hormones linked to the fight or flight reaction.
Mental issues such as anxiety can cause your body’s fight or flight reaction to malfunction, leaving you in a permanent state of flight. The feeling of being on the go is linked to your body’s inability to relax, which means it cannot properly turn on sleep-promoting and sleep-active neurons. Melatonin production decreases while you are in a constant state of fight or flight. Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone generated by a gland in the brain.
Sleep and mental health issues
Considering what is known about how sleep is linked to several distinct mental health illnesses and neurodevelopmental disorders reveals even more about how sleep and mental health are connected.
Depression, a mood condition marked by feelings of sadness or hopelessness, affects an estimated 300 million people worldwide. Roughly 75% of depressed patients have insomnia, and many of them also suffer from daytime sleepiness and hypersomnia.
- Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is indicated by mood swings ranging from highs (mania) to lows (depression). Patients with bipolar illness have a wide range of sleep patterns based on their mental condition. They usually need less sleep during manic episodes, but they may sleep excessively during depressive episodes. When a person is between episodes, sleep interruptions are expected.
- Anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders affect around 20% of adults and 25% of teenagers in the United States each year. Anxiety disorders are related to sleep problems because concern and dread produce hyperarousal, which contributes considerably to insomnia. Sleep issues can become a start of further anxiety, creating anticipation tension before bedtime and making falling asleep more difficult.
Sleep and mental health share a mutual relationship wherein each can affect the quality of the other. Book an appointment with CHW Cares to get a better night’s sleep.