May is mental health awareness month, and today we are focusing on the links between sleep and mental health conditions.
People who have depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems are no stranger to sleep disorders. You either can’t sleep or you sleep too much. Irregular sleep patterns can have a domino effect on your health, throwing your mental health completely off balance.
When your brain is deprived of sleep, you cannot expect your brain to function optimally. You end up stressed, depressed, or in a mental fog that clouds your judgement. It’s a vicious cycle, because you are too stressed to sleep and sleep deprivation causes more stress.
The connection between your brain and sleep means that taking care of your mental health will have a positive impact on your sleep health. You can improve your mental health by seeking medical treatment, improving your diet, engaging in activities you enjoy, and taking time to relax and unwind before bed. Practicing healthy sleep habits will have a positive effect on your brain.
The thalamus is the part of your brain that regulates sleep. Studies have shown that people with sleep disorders such as insomnia have a dysfunctional thalamus. Treatment for insomnia usually starts with relaxation techniques to prepare your mind and body for sleep. Getting a quality night’s rest can improve your mental health.
If you are unsure about the effects your sleep may be having on your mental health, talk to a doctor. An alarming study of China’s middle class reported that 89% had suicidal thoughts, despite only 13% saying they have ever sought help for mental health issues. Mental health awareness in the US is probably better than China, but this study makes a point worth repeating. Suicidal thoughts are NOT normal, and neither is insomnia. Less than 5% of adults in the US have insomnia.
We want you to remember that taking care of your sleep problems can improve your overall wellness, including your mental state. Take time to explore the resources on our website to learn more about sleep disorders, and if you have questions, ask us about doing an at-home sleep study.
Feeling depressed and being tired all the time is no way to live. You deserve to sleep like a baby.