Mental health is a state of well-being and we all have it. Whether we live with a mental illness or not, we can all feel well. But how can we go about improving our mental health and well-being? And once we get there, how do we stay put?
One important ingredient of good mental health is a good night’s sleep.
We often sacrifice sleep for other areas of our lives. Who hasn’t stayed up late to finish a project or attend a party? We even sacrifice sleep just to squeeze in an extra episode of the TV series we’re hooked on. But we might not recognize the consequences that go along with missing even an hour or two of sleep.
Here are 4 ways sleep can improve your mental health:
Sleep impacts your mood
Think of the last time you had a really terrible sleep — how did you feel when your alarm went off? Did you wake up feeling excited or inspired? It’s more likely that you experienced grumpiness, irritability or even stress.
Research suggests a strong link between sleep quality and mood. Spoiler Alert! This means you might want to think twice about staying up to watch that last episode of Game of Thrones.
Sleep affects the way you think
When you’re short on sleep, it’s a lot harder to concentrate, solve problems and make decisions. This means that, without enough sleep, it’s difficult to be your best self at work, school and in your social life, too.
It’s not uncommon for students to pull “all-nighters” to study for an exam, but that method might actually be more harmful than helpful. By getting to sleep at a regular time, you’ll be putting your best brain forward for that exam.
Sleep influences your behaviours
We lead busy lives. Between work and school, doing chores and cooking meals, there isn’t always time left over to practice self-care. And when you’re tired, you’re more likely to skip the activities that can support your well-being.
You’re much more likely to spend time painting or exercising in your free time if you’re energized by a good night’s sleep.
Sleep impacts your body
Just like driving a car on nothing but fumes is hard on the engine, going about daily life without adequate sleep is hard on the body. To maintain good mental health, make sure your physical needs are met.
Physical sensations you might feel when you haven’t had enough sleep include feeling sluggish and drained. It’s much more difficult to enjoy life and reach your potential — two of the six common features of good mental health — when you don’t feel up to it.