The Connection Between Mental Health and Sleep

Ever toss and turn at night, replaying stressful events or dwelling on negative thoughts? You're not alone. Poor sleep isn't just a temporary annoyance; it's a major player in mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. 

In fact, studies show those with insomnia are 10-17 times more likely to experience these conditions.

But the link between sleep and mental health isn't one-way. While lack of sleep exacerbates mental health conditions, pre-existing mental health issues can also be sleep saboteurs. It's a frustrating cycle, but understanding it is key to breaking free.

Part 1: How Mental Health Affects Sleep

Have you ever been so unsettled by a conversation you had with someone – or even a scary movie – that you struggled to get yourself to sleep at night? 

Take this experience, put it on steroids, and you have a small glimpse of the nightly battle faced by many people with mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, PTSD, schizophrenia, ADHD, and even autism spectrum disorders. 

People with these disorders often lack some of the most essential mechanisms required for a good night’s sleep, including…

  • Stress hormone control
  • Emotional regulation
  • Responding well to negative thoughts 

Instead, they are increasingly prone to sleep disturbances like nightmares, irregular circadian rhythms, and insomnia – all of which make sleep next to impossible.


Part 2: How Sleep Affects Mental Health

When you’ve gotten poor sleep, you wake up grumpy and irritable – we all know the feeling. But chronic sleep deprivation is a whole other beast. It weakens your cognitive function, stress resilience, and emotional management, making daily tasks feel like climbing Mount Everest in your pajamas. Worse, it intensifies symptoms of various mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, ADHD, and memory issues and can even lead to substance misuse and reduced impulse control.


Breaking The Cycle & Getting Better Sleep

Eager to escape the never-ending loop of stress, poor sleep, and even more stress? There are a number of things you can try before scheduling an appointment with your doctor: 
  1. Establish a regular sleep schedule.
  2. Prioritize a relaxing bedtime routine. 
  3. Opt for pre-bedtime meditation and mindfulness (instead of screen time).
  4. Create a sleep-enhancing bedroom environment.

If all else fails, the next step is to consult with your doctor or therapist. Persistent sleep problems can be the result of a sleep disorder like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and diagnosing such conditions may require you to get a sleep study.

Related: Tips For Sleep Apnea: How to get a better night’s sleep


HME Locations | Find a Home Medical Equipment Near You!

If you’ve received a diagnosis for sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, there’s a good chance you’ll need a CPAP, BiPAP, or other kind of home medical equipment (HME). Our online HME supplier locator tool makes your search for a local HME supplier easy as pie. Save this resource if you ever need it!

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