Woman sleeping

We’ve all had those few nights where we’ve stayed up well past our bedtime or even never made it to bed. This may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but did you know that sleeping has an effect on your mental health? Skipping sleep or not getting enough sleep is bad for your brain and your body. You can’t function properly if you are lacking those precious Z’s. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Here’s how sleep can alter the state of your mental health.

The Effects Lack Of Sleep Have On Your Mental Health

Believe it or not, there are quite a few problems that can arise from a lack of sleep. It may be hard to stop watching that show you’ve been Netflix binging on all day, but it’s necessary for your brain. A lack of sleep has more of an effect on your body than you could ever imagine.

Depression

Depression is seen in 65% to 90% of psychiatric patients who are adults and 90% of children. Those who have this disorder also suffer from some kind of sleep problem, such as insomnia and one in five patients suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep-related problems increase the risk of depression. It’s also been shown that depressed patients don’t respond to treatments as well as those who don’t suffer from sleep problems.

Lack Of Short-Term Memory

Those who lack sleep have sharp decrements in their working memory. If your short-term memory is shot, you aren’t going to be able to even remember a phone number or perform complex tasks. If you are sleep deprived, you probably find yourself trying to remember the simple things, but are unable to.

No Attention Span

If you aren’t getting adequate amounts of sleep, you’re going to find yourself not focusing well. That’s because this deprivation alters your ability to distinguish voices, track small moving objects in a room full of distracting information, and more. Without sleep, you aren’t going to be able to pay attention to your senses either.

Mania

Mania is no joke. A lot of people who are bipolar or no sleep suffer from this condition. Mania is also an effect of sleep deprivation. The symptoms of mania include;

  • Extreme high energy
  • Hallucinations
  • Aggression
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Elevated mood
  • Inflated self-esteem

Those who have manic episodes perform significant goal-directed activity that would usually be beyond their normal activities. They feel extremely euphoric and think that they can do anything. This could be potentially dangerous in certain situations.

Brain Issues

Those who are lacking sleep have shown impaired brain networks, more specifically, the ones that control cognitive abilities and behaviors. Scientists found, when comparing the brain of someone who is sleep deprived to someone who isn’t, found that the metabolism and blood flow were reduced in those who don’t sleep enough. This may be linked to the impaired cognitive function and behavior.

Improving Your Sleep & Your Brain

Improving your sleep is the first step in improving your brain. No more skipping an hour or two here and there, no more all night Netflix binges, and no more staying awake just for the heck of it. Some people can turn to books and online training courses to help them learn how to better themselves, while others can just fix a few kinks in their lifestyles.

Stick To A Schedule

If you get on a good sleep schedule, you’ll find yourself sleeping better and feeling better. You should go to sleep and wake up at the same times each day. This will help your body get into a routine and after you perform a certain task that you have trained your body to recognize as a sleep signal, your brain will know that it’s time to sleep and start the process.

Get Comfortable

How are you going to sleep well if you have a crummy bed?  You probably aren’t. What you should do in this case is get yourself a good mattress like the Novosbed, which has raving reviews from people who have noticed a change in their sleep. Beds like these help ease pain and surround you in comfort, the first step to a sleep filled night.

Turn Off Electronics

It’s suggested that you turn off all electronics at least one hour before you go to bed. The light from electronics tells your brain that it’s still light outside and not time for bed yet. Once you shut these down, your brain will recognize that it’s time for bed. This includes phones, tablets, televisions, and e-readers.

Limit Caffeine

Caffeine can cause sleep problems for up to twelve hours after drinking it. You should stop drinking it after noontime. The same thing goes for nicotine. Since smoking is a stimulant, it can inhibit your sleep patterns.

Sleeping Can Prevent Cancer

If you start sleeping better, thanks to the above tips, you’ll also be happy to know that sleeping properly can prevent cancer. Your body contains cortisol, which is a major hormone produced through the adrenal glands. It helps control the level of glucose that balances your metabolism. If that starts to fail, you are at a major risk for weight gain, putting you at risk.

Our bodies also produce melatonin, which is the hormone that tells your body that it’s time for sleep. Your body continues to produce this hormone, which also has antioxidant properties. This is one of the main factors when trying to prevent cancer and other health issues.

Conclusion

Sleep plays an important role in our lives. We don’t only need it to function, but we also need it to essentially keep our sanity. If you lack sleep, you may find yourself depressed, run down, sick, anxious, and so much more. Changing our habits can help dramatically, even if it’s just changing your routine. It may seem hard at first, and you may need to take some classes or read some books on how to do it, but it will all be well worth it in the end.

About the author: Frank Apodaca is the lead editor of The Sleep Judge, a site dedicated to helping people get a better sleep. Tips, tricks, and in-depth, hands-on product reviews are just some of the pieces of information you'll find at The Sleep Judge.