Sleep is as vital to physical health as eating and breathing. The human body needs its downtime to carry out important natural functions, rest and restore itself. However, getting enough slumber can also be important to good mental and emotional health, too. When people refer to ‘getting up on the wrong side of the bed’, it’s generally associated with someone being grumpy and out of sorts. In fact, poor sleep patterns can affect your mood in many ways. Here are five reasons that your mental health benefits from proper sleep.
1. It gives us physical energy to tackle daily life
Hands up if you’ve ever found yourself quick to tears, easily frustrated or lacking motivation due to insufficient sleep? Having enough time to restore our energy levels is a basic human need. It enables us to find the energy and willpower to handle daily activities and challenges. https://unsplash.com/photos/wBuPCQiweuA
2. It boosts our emotional energy
There is compelling research to suggest that it’s not just our body that needs a chance to rest deeply, but also our emotional core. Lack of sleep can leave us in an emotionally vulnerable state, and more prone to feeling low or losing our temper. When we’re tired, even the smallest thing can seem overwhelming. Poor slumber can certainly make it much harder to tackle existing mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. It becomes a vicious circle of mental health challenges that interfere with sleep patterns, and then insomnia that worsens symptoms.
3. It provides healing and revival time
During the night, our bodies carry out important repair work, and being inactive enables our systems and cells to focus solely on what needs to be done. On the other hand, poor sleep can weaken your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to more illnesses. That’s enough to put anyone in a low mood!
4. It supports proper brain activity
Studies have shown that during sleep our brains carry out a series of important processes, largely connected to sorting and storing information. Keep in mind that the time you spend in bed – even if you snooze for long periods – does not necessarily equate to a healthy level of sleep. Your brain needs to transition through a natural sleep cycle, to fully restore its abilities. This includes several periods of REM (rapid eye movement), which is when your neurological system is doing its reboot. This is why it’s so important to get comfortable in bed and have between seven and nine hours of quality sleep per night. Ways to make sure that happens include investing in a decent mattress, getting your room temperature right, and the simple pleasure of comfortable, breathable pyjamas that don’t ruffle up or restrict natural movement as you sleep. Oh, and finding ways to cope with a partner who snores, of course!
5. You gain some me time
If you live a busy and stressful life, constantly in demand, the time you spend in bed can become a much-needed oasis of calm. Which means even when you’re passing into sleep, or slowly coming round, you’re enjoying a period of peace, when the demands of everyday life can’t touch you. https://unsplash.com/photos/PYCZJUjZKks It’s another reason it’s important to stamp your own identity on your bedroom – and create a pleasant sleeping environment. This can be your little cocoon away from all the worries of the world. We all deserve some of that!
By Pauline Davis