Woman Wearing Pajamas Suffering With Depression Sitting On Bed At Home

Your Sleeping Habits Play a Role in Your Mental Health

What does sleep have to do with your mental health?

Sure, when you wake up after getting a good night’s sleep you feel happy, energetic, and ready to face the world. If you got a bad night’s sleep you might feel the opposite, but is it really fair to say that sleep affects more than just your mood, but also your mental health?

In short, yes.

If you’re not getting enough sleep due to excessive snoring or sleep apnea, your overall mental state may be suffering.

Can a lack of sleep contribute to depression?

If you’ve been diagnosed with depression, you know that you can’t just sleep it off.

But sleep and depression have a bidirectional relationship, meaning that poor or insufficient sleep can contribute to depression. On the other hand, having depression means that you’re more likely to have sleep problems. This makes it difficult to tell which came first: sleep problems or depression.

One study showed that more than 80% of people diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) were also diagnosed with depression. Other mental side effects caused by OSA include anxiety, personality disorders like hypochondriasis and psychopathic deviance personality characteristics, and other psychological problems. Some of these things can be fixed with treatment, but not all of them. Speak to your primary healthcare provider for more information on how to manage your depression.

Why is sleep so important?

Sleep is crucial in helping your mind and body to recharge. Getting enough healthy sleep leaves you feeling refreshed and alert and it helps your body fight off diseases. If you’re not getting enough, your brain can’t function properly, meaning you can’t think clearly, concentrate, and process memories as well as you should be able to.

You need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night to avoid repercussions like attention lapses and mood changes. If you’re not getting enough sleep consistently, you can build up a “tolerance” to chronic sleep deprivation. Even though your brain and body is struggling, you may not even be aware of it because it feels normal to you.

But a lack of sleep should be anything but normal.

Not getting enough puts you at risk of serious and even deadly consequences like:

  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Poor mental health

How can I start getting a better night’s sleep?

There are many things you can do to take your health into your own hands. Some things you can start doing as early as tonight when you get ready for bed.

Start by setting a realistic bedtime for yourself and try sticking to it every night, even on the weekends. Try to avoid the urge to scroll on your phone or watch TV before you fall asleep. The blue light from the devices interfere with melatonin production, which is the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle.

In addition to many other lifestyle changes, you can also reach out to a dentist who is specially trained in sleep dentistry. Dr. Andrea Stevens has experience in helping patients manage their sleep apnea to give them the rest they deserve.

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