How does sleep affect our mental health?

Getting enough sleep is essential to maintaining our mental and physical health. Find out how sleep affects our mental health in this blog.

How does sleep affect our mental health?

Getting enough sleep is essential to maintaining our mental and physical health. Find out how sleep affects our mental health in this informative blog.

Mental Health Awareness Week is drawing to a close and what a week it’s been here at Sandicliffe. We’ve had plenty of initiatives and activities taking place, but we also wanted to remind you about the importance of sleep and its connection to our mental health. After a busy day or week, it’s crucial to recharge your batteries before getting active again.

When we think about achieving our mental health and wellness goals, we usually go straight to the active things that we could be doing. But that can leave very little time for switching off and recovering. During sleep, our brains and bodies recover from the stresses and strains of the day. As a result, getting a good night\'s sleep is essential to our mental health.

When we sleep, our brains have a reduced function and can effectively go into standby mode. With less to do, our brain and central nervous system take the opportunity to recover. Sleep also replenishes important neurotransmitters like dopamine and adrenaline. These chemicals keep us alert and help to regulate our mood.

During sleep, our body uses this restful time to do all the hard work that goes into growth and recovery. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body won\'t be able to properly recover from the aches and pains of the day. When we are sore, tired and under the weather, it becomes easier to slip into a negative mental state.

When the neurotransmitters responsible for alertness not operating at their highest level, it can lead to extra stress and make us more susceptible to mental health issues. It can also affect how our muscles grow and develop, which makes sleep even more vital to the positive mental and physical health of children.

Sleep deprivation also has an impact on how our bodies respond to food. A lack of sleep can significantly reduce our glucose tolerance, leading to spikes in blood sugar and energy crashes that can make us irritable and unhappy. It also affects the hormones that control appetite, causing us to eat more when we are tired.

Stress has been proven to lead to poor diet choices and comfort eating. So, when we have had too little sleep, we often ended up eating more and eating worse foods. Unhealthy foods have their own negative impacts on our mental health and general outlook. By making sure you get enough sleep, you can mitigate all of these symptoms and more.

Switching off and getting a good night\'s sleep can be difficult. Especially when life gets busy and social media gives everyone a way to contact us at all times. But, if you want to make sure your mental health is at its best, mastering your sleeping habits is an essential task. To help you get the best sleep possible, we’ve assembled some top tips for getting good sleep.

One of the best things you can do is take a break from electronic devices before bedtime. Electric devices like phones, tablets and laptops work on the blue light spectrum. This type of light tricks your brain into thinking that it’s daytime. With raised brain activity it can be much harder to sleep. So do yourself a favour and put the devices away an hour before bed.

Changing your diet can also help you sleep better. Eating carbs releases insulin and serotonin which make you drowsy and can help you sleep deeper. Upping your magnesium intake can also help you sleep. If you have engaged in physical activity, your magnesium levels can be depleted, which leads to a bad night’s sleep.

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