How Sleep Affects Mental Health

A majority of the general population suffer from chronic sleep disorders, and they have negative effects on our mental health.

Many times, we ignore sleep in pursuit of success and economic stability. You have an impossible deadline, but you agree because you decide you can skip some sleep to get it done. Little do you know, skipping sleep does more harm than good and may affect your success more negatively than you realize.

Sleep is essential for maintaining both the physiological and psychological balance of the human body. Keeping in mind the role of sleep in maintaining a balanced mental state, it’s no surprise that sleep disorders are a common occurrence among most psychiatric patients.

How Sleep Affects Mental Health

Sleep problems remain a major contributing factor for people suffering from mental health issues.

Mental health issues and psychotic disorders have a sort of bi-directional relationship with sleep. Sometimes, poor sleep quality and sleep disorders exacerbate mental health issues and in some cases, mental state, and disorders lead to sleep issues. Therefore, treating sleep disorders is the first step to improved mental health, and a better outlook on life.

Sleep trouble and poor sleep quality have been found to be major factors in the following mental health conditions:


Many individuals who suffer from sleep disorders also suffer from anxiety.

People with anxiety find it difficult to get proper sleep because it disturbs sleep in the form of nightmares, panic attacks, and restlessness. Anxiety also causes existing sleep problems to get worse and leads to long-term sleep and mental health issues.

If you suffer from anxiety or sleep loss due to anxiety, the best way to get your mental state and sleeping pattern back to normal is by working on both factors. Getting proper sleep reduces anxiety by increasing brain activity in the region responsible for regulating emotion. Try to incorporate an appropriate bedtime routine and make your environment calm so you do not feel anxious in bed.

People suffering from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and panic attacks also find it difficult to get proper shut-eye during the night.


Sleep and depression also have a bi-directional relationship. Sleep deprivation is a major contributor to depression. About 75% of the individuals affected by depression also suffer from insomnia or hypersomnia. Poor sleep quality affects the overall mood and is likely to make a person irritated, annoyed, angry or depressed. Individuals who suffer from insomnia also have a very high risk of developing depression.

If depression is affecting your sleep pattern, try doing some breathing exercises or yoga before bed to clear your mind. Take a relaxing bath with your favorite bath oil. Aromatherapy works wonders for your mood and helps you feel happier and less stressed.

Bipolar Disorder

Sleep problems are often seen as a sign of an early onset of bipolar disorder. However, bipolar disorder has also been associated with sleep trouble. For a person suffering from this disorder, getting a night of peaceful sleep can mean the difference between a good stable mood and an unstable manic episode. People suffering from bipolar disorder can experience both insomnia and hypersomnia during depressive episodes.

Bipolar disorder is known to change the body’s circadian rhythm and cause alterations in the sleeping pattern of the individual. People suffering from bipolar disorder need to follow a strict sleep routine schedule. Waking at a fixed time is necessary to tire your body and help you sleep better during the night. Avoid the urge to sleep more than usual, especially during a manic episode and when feeling depressed.


Psychosis has also been accompanied quite frequently with a disruptive sleep pattern and insomnia. People with insomnia can experience hypersomnia and insomnia. Again, like the rest of the mental disorders, psychosis and sleep have a bi-directional relationship. Recent studies have shown that if a human being remains awake for more than 24 hours, it results in an early onset of psychosis that resembles schizophrenia. Similarly, individuals who experience psychosis also face sleep issues.

It is not very difficult to understand the importance of sleep for mental health. A good night’s sleep can keep a lot of mental disorders away and can keep you in a happier and more stable mood. Not only that, it also leads to a more fulfilling and enriched life.

How Sleep Affects Mental Health


Eugene Gabriel is a passionate blogger. He has always been fascinated by sleep and how it relates to health and wellness. Read his post on Getting Better Sleep. You can follow him on twitter @eugenegabrielj.

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