How Sleep Affects Your Mental Health
In the United States, 40 percent of the population gets less sleep than they need. According to Gallup, American adults average about 6.8 hours of sleep each night, slightly less than the recommended seven to nine hours. These statistics are a little concerning considering how vital sleep is for a healthy life.
It is widely known that sleep can impact your physical health. People who do not get enough sleep have an increased risk for ailments such as cancer and heart disease, and their immune system is weaker. But it is not as widely known that sleep also has a huge effect on your mental health.
Simply put, not getting enough sleep can hurt your brain. People who are sleep deprived often have memory issues and trouble with thinking clearly and concentrating. Sleep deprivation also can cause mood swings and put you at a higher risk of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.
If you are not getting enough sleep each night, you need to take steps to do so. Ways to help you get more sleep include setting and sticking to a bedtime, exercising regularly and not drinking caffeine products or alcohol close to your bedtime.
If you find that you have trouble with sleep (this can include issues with falling asleep or staying asleep), then you should see a doctor to determine if you have a physical condition that is hurting your ability to sleep.
A mental condition also could be affecting your ability to get enough sleep. People with mental illnesses may be at an increased risk of developing sleep problems. In fact, issues with sleeping are a symptom of depression. If this is the case, then it is important to see a mental health provider who can help you discover the root cause of your sleep issues and find ways to treat them.