There exists a complex relationship between sleep, mental and physical health. If you are unable to get a decent night’s sleep, you are more likely to wake up feeling irritated, groggy and emotionally unstable. The problems do not end there. Your body feels slow, weak and feeble and to say the least, it is a bad start to the day.
The human body and mind require an average of 8 to 9 hours of sleep to wake up feeling fresh and healthy. If for some reason, the body is not able to get sufficient amount of sleep, it does have a noticeable impact on a person’s mental as well as physical health. It is no secret that chronic insomnia has become a common occurrence in this fast paced world. But does it affect the mental and physical health of individuals? Well, the answer is a vehement yes.
Sleep, and it’s relation to Mental Health.
Getting less than the required hours of sleep at night contributes a great deal to your mental state. When you are feeling extra cranky and anxious at work, it may mean that you didn’t get the required amount of sleep the night before. Sleep deprivation also affects your ability to judge and be proactive. It clouds your mind with irritability and annoyance. Thus, sleep deprivation can be the reason behind the grumpy mood your boss is always in!
Sleep is a major factor that governs the well-being of the human mind. A disturbed sleeping pattern wreaks a lot of havoc. According to an article(1) published in Harvard Health Publications, about 50 to 80% of the psychiatric patients suffer from chronic insomnia. The inability of the individual to fall asleep or experience a disturbed sleep can lead to an important effect on the mental abilities of the brain. People with insomnia and erratic sleeping patterns have a higher chance of struggling with anxiety, depression, annoyance and psychotic disorders than those who get a good night’s sleep daily. Difficulty in sleeping may even contribute directly to mental illness.
The Secret Fitness Weapon- Sleep!
Too often is getting a good night’s sleep underestimated for the beneficial effects it has on the overall health and fitness of a person. If you are tired of going to the gym daily and following a healthy diet, but still cannot seem to lose weight, it might mean that you are not getting enough sleep.
Sleep is a secret fitness weapon that is often not given enough credit that it deserves. It helps regulate the physiological processes of the body. Getting more than 7 hours of sleep every day gives your body the time it requires to refresh and rejuvenate it.
Sleep deprivation can end up harming your fitness goals to a large extent. When you are sleep deprived, your body tends to fill up your little energy bank with sugary foods and carbohydrates. That is why sleep deprived individuals end up eating more which can lead to obesity. Unhealthy weight gain not only adds to your stressful routine but also affects your confidence. When you are working out, your body is actually under stress since exercise puts stress on your body’s muscles. After a workout, your body needs time to recover from that stress. Nutrition alone cannot help your body recover from that stress. This is where sleep plays an important role in physical fitness. Sleep helps your body to relax and recover from all the stress it underwent during exercise. If you skimp on your sleep, your body will not get time to recover itself and prepare it properly for the next fitness session and hence, you will start feeling lethargic and weak.
As we know, “A healthy body in a healthy mind.” This is a fact that cannot be ignored. Both the health of the mind and the body is closely related to the sleeping pattern of a person. Getting adequate sleep ensures a sound mind in a sound body, whereas getting less sleep will probably lead to a weak and tired body with unstable emotions.
Tips to Get More Sleep:
Achieving a healthy sleeping pattern can prove to be quite a challenge, but it is not impossible. Try the simple tips listed below to help promote a good night’s sleep so that you can wake up feeling fresh and healthy the next day:
- Do not take sugary foods or caffeine before hitting the sack
- Make your bedroom a no phone or work zone.
- Do not engage in any over stimulating activity before bed
- Try taking relaxing warm bath with your favorite bath oil
- Set a bedtime routine so that your brain can associate that routine with sleep.
Sleep is often taken for granted by most people. What they fail to realize is that fewer hours of sleep can have a harmful effect on your mental health in the long run as well. Sleep deprivation slows down your thinking process, impairs your memory and cognitive functioning and makes your learning process slow. It is extremely crucial to get 7-8 hours of sleep daily. Your mental and physical health depends on it.
Eugene Gabriel has his B.Sc (Hons.) Degree in Psychology, and is the owner and founder at Sleep Junkie. He currently lives in Lahore, Pakistan with a determined life mission to help inspire and motivate individuals to critically think about their future and to find balance in their lives. He has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals suffering from sleeping problems by teaching them about the healthy changes they need to make in their lifestyle in order to sleep peacefully. He loves to do yoga, travel, and spread the message of humanity.