Monday, February 6, 2023

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5 Mental Health Conditions Linked to Sleep Deprivation

Sleep plays a major role in good physical health. When you are tired, you are, of course, much less likely to be able to perform regular tasks and physical exertions as you regularly would. However, you may not realize how critical sleep is for your mental health as well. In fact, poor sleep habits may be a sign of a serious mental condition. Lack of sleep can even trigger the onset of some conditions. 

Read on for five mental health conditions that are linked to sleep deprivation.

1. Insomnia

Insomnia is a sleep disorder. It affects up to 35% of adults. It is characterized by trouble getting to sleep and staying to sleep, as well as higher-than-average daytime tiredness. Insomnia can often be triggered by physical illness or pain, medications, and other psychiatric conditions. It is believed that insomnia is cased by a state of either mental or physical hyperarousal. 

Human bodies adhere naturally to a circadian rhythm, which is a 24-hour cycle that promotes healthy, restorative sleep. The circadian rhythm helps to ensure all of the body’s normal functions are optimal are various points during a 24-hour cycle. This includes the many mental and emotional processes that occur throughout the day. When the circadian rhythm is interrupted, sleep problems like insomnia can occur.

2. Depression

75% of people who suffer from depression have trouble falling and/or staying asleep. Poor sleep can cause difficulty regulating emotions that can leave a person more vulnerable to depression developing in the future. Depression can also decrease the amount of short-wave sleep the body gets each night. If you have difficulty sleeping and have noticed any of the following symptoms, you should contact a qualified psychiatrist for depression and other mental health conditions:

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feelings of sadness/despair
  • Memory loss
  • Fatigue
  • Daytime tiredness
  • Suicidal thoughts

3. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a chronically heightened state of arousal. It usually happens after a traumatic event. Problems with sleep are a core symptom of PTSD. This is especially due to the recurring nightmares that characterize the disorder. After a person experiences trauma, sleep disturbance often occurs, which can snowball and develop into PTSD. Sleep problems connected to PTSD inhibit the brain’s ability to process emotions and memory and ultimately interfere with the recovery process. They can manifest as nightmares and night terrors, as well as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). People suffering from this condition are more likely to turn to negative coping mechanisms, so it is absolutely essential that those with symptoms reach out and get help.

4. Anxiety

Anxiety affects 20% of American adults and 25% of teenagers. It is very commonly connected to sleeping problems. People suffering from anxiety often deal with excessive worries and fearfulness, which make it hard to relax and fall asleep. Lying in bed thinking and stressing about things can easily prevent the brain from entering a state of restfulness. Sleep deprivation, in turn, makes anxiety worse. In fact, researchers have found that people dealing with anxiety are particularly sensitive to the effects of insufficient sleep. Lack of sleep worsens the symptoms of anxiety. 

In many cases, medication management is a great solution that offers relief. If you are dealing with anxiety and sleeping difficulties, do not wait to reach out to a professional and develop the best treatment plan for your needs. 

5. Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that is characterized by extreme mood disturbances. It affects about 4.4% of American adults. People suffering from bipolar deal with mood swings and disruptions to thoughts and behaviors. There are two main disorder types: bipolar I, which involves severe mania and depression, and bipolar II, which is defined by less serious episodes. 

Social rhythm disruption, or a disturbance in your sleep/wake cycle, is connected to manic episodes in 25%-65% of people dealing with bipolar. Fortunately, there are lots of treatment options available, so reach out to your psychiatrist if you have noticed the symptoms in yourself or someone else.

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