Sleep and Mental Health

  • November 25, 2019
metabolic syndrome

Sleep deprivation is a problem for almost 40% of Americans. Additionally, about 40 million of us suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders and an additional 20 million of us experience occasional sleep issues. Poor sleep has been linked to depression and anxiety, increased risk for heart disease, metabolic syndrome and cancer, memory issues, reduced immune system, and weight gain.

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1. Sleep deprivation impairs our ability to think clearly. When deep sleep is disrupted, it impairs our brain’s ability to think clearly and remember things.

2. Driver fatigue can be as dangerous as driving intoxicated. A study tested people using a driving simulator showed that sleep-deprived people drove as badly or worse than someone who is intoxicated. Additionally, sleep deprivation magnifies the effects of alcohol on the body, so a drowsy person who drinks is further impaired that a well-rested person who drinks.

3. Trouble sleeping 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 concern. Sleep problems are not only a symptom of depression but also a contributor to it.

4. Anxiety and sleep concerns are frequently presented together. Anxiety contributes to disrupted sleep, often in the form of insomnia or nightmares. Sleep deprivation also elevates the risk for anxiety disorders.

5. Sleep is essential to the maintenance of mental health. Sleep helps to regulate mood and process emotional information and experiences into memory. Insufficient sleep is associated with increased emotional reactivity and emotional disturbance.

Written by Carrie Company