Why Is Sleep So Important For Mental Health?


If you have ever suffered from mental health issues you will probably have also experienced the disrupted sleep patterns that can unfortunately accompany them. Stress, anxiety and depression all have a deep impact upon thought patterns and ability to gain the rest needed for healthy cognitive function.


If you are dealing with depression, sleep can seem like a way of avoiding problems and day to day responsibilities. It can become easy to sleep in and disassociate from the world, as sleep provides an addictive form of escapism.


Mental health problems that are often closely related to sleep problems include:


  • Mood Disorders, such as Depression and Bipolar Disorder.
  • Anxiety Disorders, such as Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Social Anxiety.
  • Psychotic Disorders, such as Schizophrenia.


Why Is Sleep So Important For Mental Health?


Regular and restful sleep is important for your body, mind and nervous system to remain functional. Sleep deprivation can affect important areas of mind and body, such as memory, mood, energy, ability to learn, judgement, reaction times and efficiency.


Suffering from mental health issues and sleep deprivation can have a crippling effect not only upon physical but also cognitive function. To understand why it is important to know what happens when you sleep.


Sleep is a process with several distinct phases. Within each phase of sleep, different physiological processes take place:


  • Deep and restful sleep helps to restore energy you expend during the day.
  • Your brain is actively working while you sleep to create new pathways for areas such as learning, memories and new insights.
  • Good sleep helps your body to fight off common infections by releasing key hormones while you sleep.
  • Sleep gives your heart and vascular system a rest by reducing your heart rate and blood pressure.


Sleep Deficiency Can Cause The Following Problems:


Struggling With Day to Day Life: When experiencing sleep deprivation the smallest tasks can seem overwhelming, due to the lack of energy you may experience.


Negative Thoughts: Lack of sleep can impair judgement and make it difficult to keep perspective on not only thoughts, but events around you. It can affect your ability to rationalise internal thoughts and emotions, leading to increased negative thinking symptomatic of mental health problems.


Social Isolation: Fatigue can make you less inclined to participate in social activities, bringing on a feeling of isolation. This isolation can in turn lead to anxiety or depression.


Is It Possible To Sleep Too Much?


Oversleeping can be the cause of more problems, it has been linked to obesity, increased heart problems and impaired cognitive function. Adequate and restful sleep is the best choice, rather than oversleeping to catch up on missed sleep.


How Can I Improve My Sleep Patterns?


If you want to know how to help your sleeping, we have a blog post here: How To Improve Sleep Patterns that can offer you some tips.


Anxiety and overthinking can be detrimental to achieving healthy sleep patterns, if you have trouble sleeping because you cannot clear your mind then Cathartic can help you.  We encourage anyone to share their thoughts, feelings, worries or entire story in total anonymity.

You can write down using the "Your Story" tab all that is bothering you, clear your mind and allow your mind to receive the rest that it needs to then deal with the issues the next day.