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How a Good Sleep Schedule Can Improve Mental Health

woman sleeping on bed sleep health
woman sleeping on bed sleep health

A bad sleep schedule can negatively impact a person’s mental health, but a good schedule is able to reverse those effects.

Sleep is important but some people may not be aware of how important while actively suffering from the effects of chronic insomnia. 1 in 3 adults suffers from chronic insomnia, which often leads to mental health problems1. So, how does a good sleep schedule improve mental health? 

Effects of a bad sleep schedule

Insomnia is often the cause of a poor sleep schedule which can negatively impact mental health. This sleeping disorder is characterized by difficulty with initiating sleep, staying asleep and the quality of sleep. Insomnia is described as chronic when it starts occurring on a more frequent basis1.

The most common group of mental health illnesses caused by not getting enough rest are depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)1. It may even cause schizophrenia which is a disorder that makes one unable to understand what is real and not real1. This means that insomnia could affect how individuals perceive things around them.

How sleep helps the body

How exactly does getting a good night’s rest relate to improved mental health? It’s due to the circadian rhythm — a system within the body that controls a person’s daily sleep cycle. The circadian rhythm helps control the organs and hormones during the day to keep you awake, and during the night to fall asleep1.

Staying awake during times the circadian rhythm thinks you should be asleep disrupts the sleep cycle. The same goes for when you are sleeping during times you should be awake. During the day, sunlight sends signals which tell the body to stay awake. Additionally, at night, the lack of light informs the body that it’s time to sleep, which then starts the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps keep you asleep1.

The circadian rhythm controls this 24-hour cycle and going to bed late disrupts it. A disruption of the circadian rhythm can affect the production of melatonin. This results in lower energy during the day, memory issues or a shift in body temperature, affecting your overall mental health. 

A good sleep schedule improves mental health by giving the brain time to reset, and in turn, also provides the other organs with a break. Timely sleep helps decrease psychiatric episodes experienced by people with bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses1. Since the brain is what controls all processes that occur within the body, it needs time to cool down to prevent an overload — which is why you feel mentally drained. This reset can help relax muscles and keep hormones in check while getting people ready for another day.

*The comments expressed by the author reflect their own opinions.



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