Sleep and Mental Wellbeing
With a lot of us in self-isolation, it is important for us to look after ourselves, our mental well-being and stay positive during this time. Feeling sad now and again is a part of life but when you don’t get your 7-9 hours of sleep it can influence your outlook on life, motivation and mood.
If you’re feeling down, you may not realise that one factor could be your lack of sleep; even a small level of sleep deprivation can work away at your happiness. Sleep is important because it is a restorative state, the deficiency of it might make you less enthusiastic and more irritable or even have some symptoms of depression. These can affect your mental state but also the people close to you as well.
The link between sleep and mood has been seen time and time again by researchers. Studies have shown that sleep can lower anxiety, stress and create a positive outlook; people were less impulsive and had a greater tolerance for frustration compared to people with insufficient sleep. One study has shown that 75% of depressed patients have insomnia and the patients who had recovered from depression but still had sleeping problems are prone to relapse. If you start to notice a change in your sleep patterns, take a moment and invest in your self-care and try to reach out for help. But remember just because it may be associated doesn't imply causation.
None of us are immune from depression and some of us are more likely than others to develop depression, these populations also exhibit higher rates of insomnia.
Some of the ways which can help during this time indoors includes keeping a regular sleep routine; exposing yourself to bring light when you wake up can supress your melatonin (a hormone that encourages sleep) and increase your cortisol (a hormone helps you wake up in the morning). Physical activities can also lead to better qualty sleep; it reduces stress and tires you out. Additionally it raises your body temperature and as you cool off it can trigger sleepiness, just be sure to not exercise too close to your bedtime.
If you’re finding getting to sleep is difficult, be sure to speak to friends and family or consult a medical professional.
Stay positive in these times!