How Sleep Affects Your Mental Health

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A woman sleeping in her bed

Sleep and Mental Health

Sleep affects every single aspect of your health, whether that’s physical, emotional or mental health. It makes an especially large impact on your mental health, but it does so in sneaky ways.

You might just think your mental health is going down the drain and not realize the connection because you are already struggling. Here are some of the ways that sleep affects your mental health – and how your mental health can affect your sleep.

When you don’t sleep well, you are much more likely to be anxious because every little change of plans will make you focus on the negatives instead of any positives around you. You will be much more stressed and have a much harder time coming out of that stress.

The more stressed out you are, the more likely you are to have more mental health issues. Stress is terrible for your mental health because it makes it hard for your brain to get out of fight-or-flight mode. That puts a strain on your physical health and that makes it a lot harder for you to relax the way you need to in order to actually manage your mental health.

You will also have a harder time dealing with your emotions, which will make you feel a lot worse and a lot more out of control than you might actually be.

Something you might not have thought of is the way that your mental state shows through and affects your sleep health.

Just like how sleep issues can be a symptom of your physical health issues, it can also exacerbate mental health problems. When you struggle with your mental health, that is going to cross over into the way you sleep. You’re likely to sleep but not feel rested when you’re depressed or to wake up constantly when you’re struggling with anxiety. If you find that your sleep quality decreases when you struggle with your mental health, it could be a symptom of those mental health issues.

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If your sleep issues are not in any way related to your mental health symptoms, it could be a sign that you actually have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea. If you think this could be the case, talk to your doctor about having a sleep study done. Sleep disorders can cause other massive health problems. It’s better to get that checked out than to let it continue to cause you problems and make your life worse.

You can try to improve your sleep by improving your sleep space – make sure your mattress is comfortable and you have a quiet enough room to actually sleep in.

You might also want to look at changing up when you take your medication. If your medication causes problems for your sleep, think about taking it earlier in the day. If your medication is making you drowsy during the day, you can potentially use that to your advantage to help you get to sleep. A doctor will be able to talk you through making that happen without causing other health issues.

If you find yourself sleeping well enough, but you just don’t have a lot of energy, try some new routines to jumpstart your brain. It could change the way you perform going forward. 

Heather Viera is a lifestyle expert and researcher for She is dedicated to achieving a balanced lifestyle, even with two small children and a full-time career. In the little free time she has, she enjoys hiking with her partner and taking her dog to the beach.

One Comment

  1. I agree with every point you made. It’s amazing how physically ill I can feel when i’ve not been sleeping well. A good night’s sleep can make such a massive difference both physically and mentally. I’m really not sleeping very well right now worrying about the pandemic, it’s such a worrying time for us all xo

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