The Importance of Sleep for Better Mental Health

A popular saying teaches us that “it’s hard to sleep when your heart is at war with your mind.”

Numerous studies have reached the same conclusion; they just phrased it in less poetical terms. The sleep science underlines the close relationship between rest and our mental health and tries to make us aware of the importance of proper repose for our body and brain.

Poor sleep and sleep deprivation can lead to anxiety, depression and other medical problems. And just like the quote says, all those issues generate more and worse sleeping disorders: it is hard to convince your mind to go to sleep when you’re worried about your health. I often hear people arguing that a few bad nights are not such a big deal, but the truth is that there can be consequences even after just one night of insufficient sleep, such as the ones listed below:

Slow-moving mind

Your attention span, alertness, focus and problem-solving capabilities will slow down considerably if you don't get your much-needed rest for the night. According to some studies, losing a lot of sleep particularly in your youth could have a negative impact on your intelligence level and mental development.

Risk of injuries

There’s a higher chance of causing an accident or suffering an injury if you had a restless night. That is particularly dangerous when you have to drive after not being able to get quality sleep.

Memory problems

Sleeping is the time when our brain processes and organises everything we have learned and lived through the day. Not getting enough of it usually leads to memory problems and incapacity of assimilating new information.

When lack of sleep becomes a chronic situation, the health problems can turn into more severe conditions, such as heart diseases, diabetes, obesity and premature ageing, which can all affect our mental well-being. The risk of developing depression is deeply linked to insomnia, as research has shown: it seems that people who suffer from sleeping disorders are five times more likely to present symptoms of depression than the ones who get plenty of sleep.

Therefore, six to eight hours per night of sleeping on a good mattress are crucial for our mental health. It prevents anxiety, it makes worries go away, and it keeps us focused and in good shape. Also, other main benefits of getting proper sleep are a strong immune system, enhanced memory, improved learning abilities, plus a balanced level of hormones in our body and brain. Nevertheless, it is an excellent ally when recovering from an illness and a great help in maintaining your average weight.

Sleep helps you be alert

When your brain gets enough rest, you will wake up full of energy, ready to take on the challenges of the new day. You will be more alert and able to concentrate on your goals.

Stress is diminished

A well-rested body and brain produce less cortisol and adrenaline, the most common stress hormones. Thus, you will feel more confident and relaxed.

Stay smart and sharp

Your academic or work performance will be severely reduced if you're sleep deprived. Decent rest helps the mind organise information and turn it into knowledge. That’s why the best strategy before an exam or a significant work project is to prepare in advance, but not during the night before with the cost of your sleep. Pulling an all-nighter may make things worse.

Enjoy happiness and peace of mind

While you rest, your brain has the time it needs to get all the chemicals in your body back to balance, especially the hormones that impact your mental accuracy, mood, and feelings. If you wish to be calm, relaxed and happy, don’t lose sleep. Insomnia is not only associated with depression, but also with mental illness. So if you aim for peace of mind and long, healthy life, you should understand the importance of sleep in the equation and act accordingly.

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