- Recent research reaffirms the mental health benefits of sleep
- The benefits of quality sleep can be achieved by following a healthy sleep hygiene routine.
While deciding about serious matters or coping with stressful events, instead of tossing and turning in our beds, we are advised to “sleep on it”. While the saying may appear off-handish, there is an actual scientific basis for the strategy. A nap can do wonders for our mind, with sleep and mental health going hand-in-hand.
Sleep is a fundamental part of our bodies’ sleep-wake system and is regulated by our circadian clocks and homeostatic drive for sleep. It is a repetitive process that occurs in stages.
Sleep And Emotions
Research shows that quality sleep has a positive impact on our emotions and mental health. This is because sleep strengthens the connection between the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex, brain regions that regulate our emotional responses. Particularly, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep helps us consolidate our memories—thus removing negative feelings associated with stressful situations and enabling us to reflect better.
Poor Sleep Affects Your Mental Health
Sleep loss weakens our brain connections and memories, thereby negatively enhancing our reactions to stressful situations. When sleep-deprived, we tend to choose less effective ways of managing our emotions and problems. This has a knock-on effect on our mental health, making us prone to mood swings, behavioral disorders, etc.
Ways To Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Getting adequate quality sleep is a surefire way toward improving our mental health. The other benefits of getting more sleep include energy restoration, better metabolic regulation, better cognition, and boosted immunity.
Therefore, consider the following tips to sleep better at night:
- Establish a sleep schedule
- Create a comfortable sleeping environment
- Limit your screen time before bed
- Avoid large meals, alcohol, and tobacco items before bedtime
- Avoid daytime napping
By understanding the importance of sleep, we can avail ourselves of its benefits through a balanced lifestyle that comes with a sound sleeping schedule, good nutrition, and adequate physical activity.