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May is Mental Health Awareness Month and a good time to learn about the connections between sleep and mental health. Most people who experience poor sleep report that it affects their mood. It’s overlooked that it can also affect mental health? Answerl: Yes, it does.
Sleep is closely connected to our mental and emotional health and has been linked to such mental conditions as anxiety, bipolar disorder, and depression. Lack of sleep, such as insomnia, is a contributing factor to mental health issues. Improving sleep can have a strong impact on mental health.
Mental health disorders often also make sleeping harder.
Each stage of sleep plays a role in your brain health, allowing activity in different parts of the brain to properly accelerate or decrease which enables clearer thinking, learning, and the ability to strengthen memory.
Sufficient sleep, also known as REM sleep, facilitates what information the brain processes. When you sleep the brain works to evaluate and remember. When you don’t get enough sleep, it can influence mood and emotional reactivity.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder that has been linked to mental health. OSA occurs when there is a pause in breathing during sleep that reduces the body’s oxygen levels. OSA tends to occur more frequently in people with psychiatric conditions and can heighten mental distress.
Snoring is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea. People with a family history of sleep apnea who are overweight and suffer from diabetes or high blood pressure are more susceptible to developing obstructive sleep apnea.
Around 75% of depressed people show symptoms of insomnia, often people with depression also suffer from excessive sleepiness during the day.
In the past, sleeping problems were seen as a result of depression, but it’s now suggested that poor sleep may induce or worsen depression.
Some pretty remarkable things happen while we sleep. Recent studies show that during sleep our brains clear out toxins that are associated with degenerative brain disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. For those who snore, this “cleaning” process does not occur. Not only do snorers lose out on this opportunity, they crawl out of bed feeling exhausted and irritable. And that leads to increases in stress and anxiety, and also exacerbates any current mental health issues.
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Do you want to improve your brain health? Find a snoring solution and enjoy the benefits of a good night’s sleep.