Health & Fitness

Psychological and Mental Health Effects of Sleep Deprivation

January 5, 2022   By Jennifer Cook

It’s almost impossible to get adequate sleep these days. We have thousands of things distracting us before we go to sleep compounded by all the daily stress we go through.

Today, we’ll tackle what defines sleep quality and loss, their effect on our mental and physical health and how small changes in our lifestyle can help us get as much shut-eye as we can get.

Worried about your psychological well-being? We are too! So much so that we just had to do some more digging to find that…

It’s An Age-Old Problem

The mental effects of sleep loss affect people differently. Psychiatry experts believe that lack of sleep hits people in various ways, from adolescents to old-timers and everyone in between.

One study suggests that sleep debt negatively influences our physical health and emotions.

That explains why an inadequate amount of sleep often has you waking up on the wrong side of the bed and grumpy all day. 

Failing to achieve healthy sleep goes beyond daytime sleepiness for teenagers and students. Puberty, hormonal changes and irregular sleep duration elevate the risk factor for depression and anxiety in teens, making them doubly vulnerable.

Young adults aren’t the only ones that should pay more attention to their sleep health care. Adults aren’t safe from sleep disorders and corresponding mental health backlash.

Adults have it rather bad too. Aside from increased chances of physical health problems like heart disease and high blood pressure due to age, sleep deprivation also means slower brain function and erratic mood swings. 

Slower reaction time and mood disorders aren’t the only adverse effects of lost sleep on adults. Sleep research showed that older people are susceptible to depressive symptoms, although not as much as teens.

While the problem goes deeper than losing hours of sleep, all the way to how our brain’s cortex works, it pays to understand how sleep can affect the brain and how it could increase the chances of contracting psychiatric disorders.

Short-term effects of sleep deprivation might include minimal to noticeable mental impairments, but in time, these downsides will massively affect your mental health conditions. 

Improved Sleep Habits, Better Thoughts

According to renowned sleep expert Soomi Lee, the optimal amount of sleep time for adults is more than six hours. Here are some pointers on how to fall asleep faster and sleep longer.

Read Your Room

Your bedroom is an extension of your personality, so it should reflect what you’re comfortable with, from decorations, aesthetics to how you prefer to sleep. 

One way to get enough sleep is by designing your room to be more relaxing. If you’re thinking of getting new sheets or pillows, that’s for later. For now, you need to master your senses.

Scented candles are excellent means to induce sleep. Scents like lavender or jasmine are sleep veterans with testimonies about their efficacy.

Are you having trouble syncing your circadian rhythm or internal body clock? That’s because of intrusive stimuli like extreme sunlight or blue light from gadgets and computer monitors. You might want to invest in blackout blinds or heavy curtains to block out sunlight and bedside tables to put your devices on.

Ditto for loud and irritating noises. Completely soundproofing your room might break the bank, so going with earbuds or an affordable white noise machine might be a more viable option.

Time For Time-Keeping

A wonky body clock doesn’t only mean workhour naps or frequent yawning, as studies have shown that sleep irregularities can lead to a weird, jetlag-ish feeling and mood swings.

Safeguard your mental health by following a set bedtime routine. Sleeping and waking up in a regular pattern helps your body rest efficiently.

According to research, there are two significant parts of sleep: deep sleep or that stage where bodily functions slow down, including brain reactivity and REM or rapid-eye-movement sleep.

Preferably, you’d want to achieve and maintain deep sleep as fast as possible. By sticking to a regular bedtime, you train yourself to fall asleep quicker, resulting in a more restful slumber!

Figuring out what time works for you can be tricky. Experts suggest seven to nine hours of sleep for adults, so that’s what you should aim for. It helps keep a journal at your bedside table to monitor what time works best for your schedule.

Upgrades, Gotta Have Them

We’ve talked about your bedroom as a whole, so now it’s time to give your bed some thought. Does it still have your back when it comes to comfort?

Upgrading your sleep setup doesn’t necessarily mean getting a new mattress, but if you have the extra cash, then go for it!

Choosing an expertly crafted pillow often spells the difference between sleeping soundly and not sleeping a wink. 

Good thing the Ecosa Pillow blends precise engineering and excellent comfort to become the perfect place to rest your head-on. How about the cost? It’s nothing you’ll be losing sleepover, we promise.

As for sheets, they shouldn’t only match your decor but your body as well. Too little airflow will leave you drenched, while too much breathability can give you colds in the morning.

Don’t be afraid to invest in quality sheets that can roll with you all night long. Those are worth their price, trust us.

Don’t Just Sleep on It.

Losing sleep is inevitable. Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned, and our bedtimes get ruined. Other times that Netflix series is just so good that an episode or seven a night won’t do.

The problem with not sleeping enough isn’t something you can and should ignore. Its consequences might not be noticeable now or tomorrow, but it will eventually catch up with you.

To prevent problems down the line, it helps to treat sleep as what it is, a valuable time for relaxing both body and mind.

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