Mental Health Day 2022: We must all get enough sleep to assist our bodies to recover from the day and promote healing. But a lot of us have trouble sleeping well at night. A third of us have sleep problems, and the effects can go beyond being cranky or inattentive. Living with a mental health issue can influence your sleep, and getting inadequate sleep can damage your mental health. We may experience physical illness effects from sleep deprivation. It has been connected to rapid ageing, diabetes, heart disease, and even fatal car accidents. The world over, insomnia is a widespread issue. It is estimated that 33% of the world’s population is impacted. Therefore, it is important to understand how sleep affects mental health and well-being. (Also read: World Mental Health Day: Benefits of chanting mantras for your mental health )
In a conversation with HT Lifestyle, Dr Sibasish Dey, Head of Medical Affairs, South Asia, ResMed explained the relation between sleep and mental health:
“As we are emerging out of the shadows of the Covid-19 pandemic, the importance of mental health cannot be stressed enough. In today’s times, stress levels are greatly heightened due to fast-paced lifestyles and extended work hours, which are inadvertently impacting the quality of sleep. Sleep contributes to one’s mental well-being in several ways. Adults are recommended to get seven to eight hours of sleep every night to ensure the maintenance of their health and well-being and for children, this duration is higher.
Sleep provides you with much-needed rest which aids in rejuvenating and regulating neuro-cognitive functions along with healing your heart and blood vessels. Sleep deprivation which is quite common may impair cognition, motor performance and mood. This can result in poor judgement, impaired memory, confusion, irritability, anxiety and depression. There are three factors which can be held responsible for the bi-directional relationship between sleep and mental health which are emotional dysregulation, impaired rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and genetics related to the circadian clock.
Not getting a restful night of sleep experience may lead to people experiencing negative emotions more intensely when they are faced with stressful situations. Secondly, the brain processes cognitive information evaluates and consolidates memories during REM sleep. In cases of depression, typically REM sleep is prolonged however, REM latency is reduced.
Lastly, circadian clock genes are also associated with psychiatric disorders which is why if you go late to bed even by two hours and still wake up at the same time, your positive emotions are impacted. Therefore maintaining a good sleep cycle is a must to keep yourself mentally happy and healthy.”
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