Have you been feeling depressed lately or long term? Have you been suffering with anxiety? Have you been experiencing sleepless nights? This week is a mental health awareness week. Although many of us feel extremely uncomfortable to talk about it or reach out for help. I thought I share with you how you can help yourself. By the way, I’m not trying to belittle this issue, on the contrary, I’d like to empower you (so you can be more in power). Back to the subject: Did you know that depression, anxiety and poor sleep are interlink? Poor sleep habits have been connected to problems like anxiety and depression, also increased risk for heart disease and cancer, memory issues, reduced immune system, and weight gain. To solve these problems costs billions of £ and $ annually across the globe actually. And, I am not even mentioning the cost for lost or poor productivity at work…
Here are a few ideas and some interesting information based on research how mental issues are connected with sleep deprivation.
1.Sleeping badly? Your focus at work suffers too!
Simply put, when you are disrupted from deep sleep, it messes our brain and prevents us from thinking clearly and remember things. “REM (rapid eye movement) sleep – the deepest stage of the sleep cycle, stimulates the brain regions used in learning. One study shows that REM sleep affects the learning of certain skills. Those involved in the study were taught a skill and then deprived of REM sleep resulting in lack of recall of what they had learned. Conversely, those that had full REM sleep easily recalled what they had learned.”
2.Difficulties sleeping? It is a symptom of depression!
Studies estimate that 65 to 90 percent of adults (and about 90 percent of children!!) with clinical depression experience some form of sleep concerns. Most commonly, it’s insomnia, but 1 in 5 suffer from sleep apnea. Hypersomnia (excessive tiredness during the day) is also common among people with depression. Sleep problems are not only a symptom of depression, but also a contributor to it.
3. More than 70 different types of sleep disorders out there!
You may be familiar with some of them: “insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep), sleep apnea (obstructed breathing that causes multiple awakenings), restless leg syndrome (prompts night fidgeting and impairs quality of sleep), and narcolepsy (falling asleep suddenly during the day).”
4. Sleep deprivation and its varieties of symptoms
“Experts say that if you consistently feel drowsy during the day or experience micro-sleeps, then you may have severe sleep deprivation or even a sleep disorder.” Other signs of sleep deficit are: constant tiredness, habitually using caffeine to get through the day, not waking up refreshed, drowsiness while driving or during mundane activities like watching TV, memory problems, waking up too early and difficulty falling or staying asleep.
5.Driving tired? Take a break – seriously!
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver fatigue is responsible for about 100,000 motor vehicle accidents and 1,500 deaths every year. Sleep deprivation is not only bad for your mind and body, but in some cases, can also endanger the lives of others. A study that tested people using a driving simulator showed that sleep-deprived people drove as badly or worse than someone who is intoxicated. Sleep deprivation also magnifies the effects of alcohol on the body, so a drowsy person who drinks will be even further impaired than a well-rested person who drinks. Interesting, isn’t it?
6. Anxiety and sleep issues go hand in hand (most of the time)
Sleep concerns affect more than 50% of adults with generalized anxiety disorder and are also common among those with post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and phobic disorders. Anxiety also contributes to disrupted sleep, often in the form of insomnia or nightmares. Sleep deprivation also elevates the risk for anxiety disorders — gosh! Yet another chicken and egg situation between sleep problems and other mental health conditions.
7. Already have mental health conditions? Your sleep quality may also be affected!
Some time ago, sleep problems were thought of as just symptoms of mental health conditions, but now research tells us they may contribute to or even be a cause of them. This also means that treating the sleep disorder may help alleviate the symptoms associated with a mental health condition and vice versa. It is worth noting that chronic sleep problems affect about 50 to 80 percent of those with psychiatric conditions and 10 to 18 percent of adults in the general U.S. population.
8. Did you know sleep issues are associated with ADHD in both children and adults?
Various sleep problems affect 25 to 50 percent of children with ADHD — the more common conditions are daytime tiredness and sleep-disordered breathing. For adults with ADHD, the typical issues are difficulty falling asleep, shorter sleep duration and restless slumber. For both children and adults, the symptoms of ADHD and sleep problems overlap so much that it may be difficult to tell them apart.
Suggestions for bed time habits
Include the following few tips to improve your sleep and see if your mental wellbeing improves too.
- Have a regular bedtime and wake up time even at the weekend (because your body loves the consistency)
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine close to bedtime
- Exercise during the day
- Get regular exposure to natural light – it’s possible even here in the UK!
- Meditate – even 10 – 15 min can make a huge difference.
- Use the bedroom only for sleep or sex only (no electronic devices!)
- Be aware of your wifi and electronic devices with a screen and your exposure to it
To learn more about sleep hygiene please reach out to me and I’ll email you a free PDF.
Have you found these tips useful? If yes, feel free to share it and comment below.
Skype: Lucie Patel Varekova
Email: [email protected]