How a Poor Sleep Schedule Can Harm Your Mental Health

A psychiatrist in Maryland examines the connection between sleep deprivation and your mental health.

Like most people, you’ve probably experienced your fair share of restless nights. Waking up with little to no sleep likely left you feeling grumpy and moody. The smallest problem or inconvenience may have even set you off. Your sleeping troubles could be attributed to a number of different factors in your life, such as a time-consuming project at work or personal troubles with your partner. Some people also struggle with insomnia, a common sleep disorder that makes it hard for people to fall asleep. 

But aside from a short temper, sleep deprivation can also cause serious long-term health conditions like depression and heart disease. In our latest blog post, a psychiatrist in Maryland examines the relationship between sleep and mental health. We will also offer tips on achieving a better night’s sleep. Understanding this close relationship can help you improve both your physical and mental health. 

Sleep and Mental Health

A psychiatrist in Maryland explores the relationship between sleep and your mental health.

woman with brown hair sleeping
Are you getting enough sleep? Sleep deprivation can cause serious short-term and long-term effects on your mental health. 

The relationship between sleep and mental health is complex. While sleep deprivation can cause mental and physical health issues, certain medical conditions can also cause further sleep deprivation. For instance, people with depression sometimes struggle with a disrupted sleep schedule. They might sleep too little or too much. This poor sleep schedule can end up worsening their depression. That’s why looking after your sleep schedule is such a crucial component of taking care of your mental health. 

Minimum Amount of Sleep You Need Each Night

The CDC recommends people aged 18 and up to get 7 hours of sleep or more in a 24-hour period. Teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep while children need around 9-12 hours. Not only should people aim to achieve the minimum amount of sleep recommended each night, but they also need to consider the quality of their sleep. Waking up in the middle of the night or suffering from an uncomfortable bed can still lead to fatigue, irritability, and other common symptoms of sleep deprivation. 

Speaking of symptoms of sleep deprivation, many people struggling with this condition may experience:

  • Irritability
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Hallucinations (if it continues for long enough)
  • Brain fog
  • Reduced coordination
  • Food cravings
  • Impaired memory and decision making

These symptoms do vary depending on how much sleep you have missed out on. Nonetheless, a lack of sleep can cause serious mental and physical health problems.

Mental and Physical Disorders Associated with Sleep

Numerous mental and physical health conditions have been connected to sleep deprivation, such as:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • ADHD
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Hearth disease

Some conditions, like depression and anxiety, can result from a lack of sleep. Others, like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, can actually alter your sleep patterns. If you are having trouble sleeping at night, you need to contact your doctor for assistance. They can help you determine what might be causing this sleep deprivation and help you fix your sleep schedule. 

Top Tips for Achieving Better Sleep

Stop losing precious hours of sleep with these proven tips.

woman sleeping
Having trouble sleeping? Try these expert tips for getting a better night’s rest.

If you struggle with falling or staying asleep, you might need to improve your sleep habits. Poor sleep hygiene is often the culprit behind your sleep troubles. Cultivating new habits can go a long way in helping you get a good night’s rest. You can try:

  • Avoiding alcohol and caffeine in the evening
  • Increasing your exposure to bright light during the daytime to improve your circadian rhythm
  • Reducing your blue light exposure by wearing special glasses when using electronics 
  • Cut down on daytime naps
  • Setting a consistent bedtime for yourself
  • Take a melatonin supplement before bedtime
  • Improve the environment of your room by adjusting the temperature, blocking out sound, or upgrading your bedding
  • Exercise during the day rather than before bedtime

Your physician may also prescribe medication and therapy for you. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, for instance, has been proven to help those with severe sleeping problems like insomnia. If you’re struggling with mental health issues, cognitive-behavioral therapy can also help you by giving you an avenue to talk out your problems and re-formulate negative thoughts. 

Most of us lead hectic lives. When attempting to juggle such stressful and demanding schedules, it can be challenging to find time to get some quality sleep and rest. Other times, life can just leave you stressed and unable to sleep. Whatever is causing your lack of sleep, the Psych Associates of Maryland can help you get through this stressful period of your life. Contact the team today to meet with a psychiatrist in Maryland.


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