Sleep is an essential part of our overall health and wellbeing, and its importance for mental health is often overlooked. Poor sleep can make it difficult to cope with stress, and can even affect our ability to perceive the world accurately. On the other hand, mental health conditions can worsen sleep problems. The relationship between sleep and mental health is complex, but understanding it can help us better manage our mental wellbeing. Sleep helps maintain cognitive abilities, such as attention, learning and memory.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one-third of adults in the United States report that they don't get enough sleep each night. This lack of sleep can lead to changes in our mental health, making it more difficult to regulate our emotions. In the long term, this may increase our risk of developing a mental health condition. Sleep deprivation can also trigger the onset of certain psychological conditions, although researchers are not entirely sure of the underlying reasons for this. Treatment plans can vary considerably, but may include psychotherapy and medications.
Improving sleep quality is also important for managing mental health, as it helps the brain process emotional information. The relationship between sleep and mental health is particularly evident when looking at neurodevelopmental disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Studies have shown that 25 to 55% of children who have ADHD also experience sleep disorders. During Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep, general brain activity slows down, but there are quick bursts of energy. Getting enough REM sleep makes it easier for the brain to process emotional information. It's important to remember that the relationship between sleep and mental health is complex.
While lifestyle changes may help alleviate some sleep problems, it's important to seek professional help if needed. Understanding how sleep and mental health are interconnected can help us better manage our overall wellbeing.