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Empower Your Night: Go to Sleep and Uncover the Dynamic Connection Between Rest and Mental Well-being

Pia VermaakPia Vermaak  March 7, 2024

Want to go to sleep? Let’s discuss the link between sleep and mental health. It would help to have a restful night’s sleep for overall health and wellbeing. But did you know that the quality of your sleep can significantly impact your mental health? Research indicates that the relationship between mental health and sleep is complex and inverse, meaning that having trouble sleeping can be exacerbated by mental health issues as well as poor sleep. Are you ready to plump my pillow and get a good night’s rest?

How Does Sleep Impact Mental Wellness?

man wearing pajama's, sitting on bed, holding his head, wooden backboard // Healthier Me TodayAnxiety, depression, and irritability are just a few of the problems that can arise from inadequate sleep. Chronic sleeplessness, in particular, has been linked to an increased risk of mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. Furthermore, people who already struggle with mental health issues might have worsening symptoms, which would make it harder to control them and lead to a vicious cycle of poor sleep and worse mental health.

Conversely, mental health issues can also affect sleep. People with depression, for example, frequently have trouble falling asleep, wake up a lot at night, and wake up too early in the morning. They also often have disturbed sleep patterns. Furthermore, anxiety may make it difficult to relax and go to sleep. PTSD and other trauma-related disorders can cause nightmares and night terrors, which can make it challenging to get a good night’s sleep.

How Is Mental Health Related to Sleep?

blue shining brain, blue lightning, blue background // Healthier Me TodayThroughout the various stages of sleep that comprise the sleep cycle, there are variations in the amount of brain activity that occurs during sleep. Every stage affects brain health differently, allowing for increased or decreased activity in various brain regions and improving cognition, memory, and learning. Additionally, studies have shown that sleep significantly impacts brain activity related to emotions and mental health.

Adequate sleep and remarkably rapid eye movement (REM) help the brain process emotional data. The brain processes thoughts and memories while we sleep, and sleep deprivation is detrimental to consolidating positive dynamic content. This is linked to the severity of mental health disorders, including the risk of suicidal thoughts or actions, and it can affect mood and emotional reactivity.

As a result, there is growing doubt about the conventional wisdom that claims that sleep issues are a sign of mental health issues. As an alternative, it is increasingly evident that there is a reciprocal relationship between sleep and mental health, meaning that issues with sleeping can both contribute to and result from mental health issues. More research is required to fully understand the complex relationship between sleep and mental health and how a wide range of factors can influence it in each individual’s unique circumstances.

Another aspect of sleep that has been connected to mental health is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a disorder that causes breathing pauses and a drop in oxygen levels in the body, which leads to fragmented and disrupted sleep. People with psychiatric disorders are more likely to experience OSA, which can worsen their physical health and increase their risk of experiencing severe mental distress.

Sleep and Specific Mental Health Problems

woman sitting in the dark, crying, hand to head, closed eyes // Healthier Me TodayReviewing the research on the connections between sleep and various specific mental health conditions and neurodevelopmental disorders highlights the close relationship between sleep and mental health.


Over 300 million people globally are thought to suffer from depression, a kind of mood disorder characterized by depressing or hopeless feelings. Insomnia symptoms are present in about 75% of depressed individuals, and hypersomnia—or sleeping too much—and excessive daytime sleepiness are common in depressed individuals. In the past, insomnia was thought to be a result of depression, but mounting research indicates that depression may be caused by or made worse by inadequate sleep. The difficulty in pinpointing a precise cause and effect is indicative of what is thought to be a reciprocal relationship between sleep issues and depressive symptoms. This may lead to a vicious cycle where depression gets worse due to inadequate sleep, which in turn causes more sleep disturbances, but it may also pave the way for novel approaches to treating depression. For instance, concentrating on enhancing sleep may, for at least some, have the added benefit of lessening depressive symptoms.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

A subtype of depression known as seasonal affective disorder typically strikes during periods of the year when there are fewer daylight hours. For instance, seasonal affective disorder may hit people in northern climates in the fall and winter. The disturbance of an individual’s circadian rhythm, or internal biological clock, which aids in regulating various body functions, including sleep, is closely linked to this illness. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that individuals with seasonal affective disorder frequently have irregular sleep cycles or sleep too much or too little.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are thought to impact 20% of adults and 25% of teenagers in America each year. Excessive fear or worry brought on by these disorders can interfere with daily functioning and increase the risk of health issues like diabetes and heart disease. There are several different kinds of anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, general anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Sleeping issues are closely linked to anxiety disorders. Anxiety and panic produce a state of hyperarousal, which is characterized by a racing mind and is thought to be a significant factor in insomnia. An additional cause of worry could arise from sleep issues, causing anticipation anxiety before bed, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Studies have revealed a particularly robust relationship between PTSD and sleep. Individuals who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often relive traumatic events in their minds, experience nightmares, and feel hypervigilant, all of which can disrupt their sleep. Many veterans have PTSD, and symptoms of insomnia are present in at least 90% of US veterans who have combat-related PTSD from recent wars. There are other causes of insomnia besides anxiety. Studies show that those who are predisposed to anxiety disorders may be more likely to experience chronic insomnia and that inadequate sleep can exacerbate anxiety in those who are already at high risk for it.

Go to Sleep: Ways To Improve Both Sleep and Mental Health

Better sleep and mental health are accessible with simple tactics at home. The key is building an optimal sleep space. Upgrading to a comfy king-size bed set with essential items like cozy sleep zone sheets and a king-size blanket adds comfort and calm. Enhance this with products like the Dormeo mattress topper for top comfort and support for good sleep.

An unchanging sleep schedule is critical for setting your internal clock and bettering sleep quality. Stay consistent with sleep and wake hours, even on your off days, for a more balanced sleep cycle. A soothing bedtime regimen signals your body to prepare for rest. Include activities like reading, basic stretching, or calming methods like deep breathing or meditation.

Curbing screen use, especially before sleep, matters as the device’s blue light messes up your natural sleep cycle. Keep away from digital gadgets at least an hour before sleep, and think of setting a “screen bedtime” in your home.

Exercising routinely throughout the day enhances sleep quality and helps with mental health. Strive for about 30 minutes of light exercise most days, but dodge intense activities close to sleep time, as it could hinder your ability to sleep.

Implement These Home Strategies Today!

go to sleep, woman sleeping, white clothes, white bedding, gold alarm clock // Healthier Me TodayWe know sleep is essential. A quiet, serene bedroom helps. Get up and go to bed at the same time every day. Limiting your time with screens before you hit the pillow helps. Regular physical activity is good, too. These home strategies improve your sleep and mind. Boost your health by making these a priority, and if you’re out traveling, opt for the best travel pillow to ensure a good night’s rest. 

Pia Vermaak

Pia Vermaak 

Pia Vermaak is the owner of the leading digital marketing and content writing company, MotherTyper. Her skill sets include degrees/certificates in beauty, psychology, business, and writing! MotherTyper has writers from all over the world with different races, genders, and backgrounds, ensuring the perfect piece is written, researched, and presented to you!