Why Is Sleep Important?
Everyone knows that a good night’s sleep is one of the most essential things to remain a functional human being. Which is why, it usually is one of the first things affected by mental illness; because why would mental illness want you to be functional. So it makes sense that for us, mental illness sufferers, that sleep is that much more important. I’ve even written an article on how to get better sleep, because it’s so desperately needed (Helping You Get That Good Nights Sleep You So Desperately Need).
However, why is sleep so important for the human body and mind? Scientists have been asking this question for millennia. What modern technology has revealed, is that it is a renewal cycle for the brain and he chemicals it produces. With those chemicals, your brain will form new neural pathways improving your learning, it will foster growth in teens and young adults, it repairs and maintains other essential organs like your head and lungs. Sleep will regulate the level of hormones in your body that control your hunger, reduce your risk of diabetes, increase bone density and muscle mass, and even help your immune system so that you stay happy and healthy. But enough with the medical mumbo jumbo, you can read the full article that I pulled these facts from on the NIH website, the link is at the bottom. What does good sleep do for your mental health, well if it’s that good for your body, imagine what it does for your mind. It will improve your mental stability by leaps and bounds. You’ll have more energy, your anxiety will more manageable, and your depression will feel less powerful. I can only say all this because I have been sleeping better since I’ve been on meds, and let me tell you, I don’t know how I functioned before I was sleeping well. There are so many benefits to getting a good night’s sleep, that it’s questionable why people even risk sleep deprivation.
The only problem here is, mental illness doesn’t let you sleep well. You’re either up all night ruminating on things you did years ago, or things you would change if you could. Even if you get to sleep easily, you’re still not reaching that restful level of sleep because your brain is always on, and can’t wind down for good sleep. The effects of sleep deprivation, I imagine are well known to you, as like myself, you’ve probably lived with them for years. For those of you that don’t know, sleep deprivation has many physical and mental effects, some of which I will outline here. The first and foremost being, you are tired, no duh right? However, being tired will decrease productivity, attention span, destabilize your appetite, and leave you feeling grouchy and probably dependent on coffee to bring you back to life. Not only all that jazz, but sleep deficiency can even increase your chances of obesity, since your hormones are all screwed up. Which will ultimately lead to a drop in self esteem and confidence, which makes your mental health worse. It is a snowball effect for the ages, that just keeps getting bigger and bigger until you get to the point where you are a total mess. Believe me, I’ve been there, it’s not something you want to experience.So all in all, sleep is good, depression and anxiety are bad, but you already knew that. Hopefully, you get your good night’s sleep, and feel the glorious benefits that go with it.
Photo Credit: Unsplash: ANMOL