When it comes to mental or physical health, everyone is looking for the secret formula. Sadly, such a shortcut does not exist. That said, there are some universally beneficial steps to bear in mind. Maintaining a regular, sufficient sleep schedule, for example, just might be the closest thing to a magic potion we will ever find.
Without healthy sleep habits, it becomes practically impossible to sustain a healthy state of body and mind. Think of it like plugging in your phone to charge. Sleep refreshes and renews. It also improves your mood — and who couldn’t use some of that in 2021?
Some of the General Benefits of Sleep
- Heart Health: Without enough sleep, your body releases more cortisol. This is a stress hormone that can cause your heart to work harder than necessary.
- Immune System Boost: Rest improves your ability to fight off pathogens. Your immune cells need rest in order to perform effectively.
- Preventing Weight Gain: Lack of sleep increases your body’s production of a hormone called ghrelin, which increases your appetite.
- Improved Athletic and/or Exercise Performance: Sleep deprivation, according to research, directly correlates to poor physical performance. This may sound obvious but safety and injury prevention depend on the improved dexterity and mental clarity supported by sufficient rest.
Why Catching Z’s is Important for Improving Your Mood
You don’t need me to tell you that people get pretty cranky when they don’t get enough sleep. Your temper is likely shortened and stress just hits you differently when you haven’t had enough sleep. Besides this anecdotal evidence, plenty of research has been done on this topic. Some of the findings include the following
All of your emotions are on your sleeve
In a large University of Pennsylvania study, participants were limited to less than 5 hours of sleep per night. After just one week, they reported feeling any combination of the following:
- Mentally exhausted
A vicious cycle is born
Sleep deprivation has a negative impact on our mood. Our negative mood, in turn, increases the likelihood of more sleep issues. Stress and anxiety are like a form of arousal that tends to keep the body and mind more awake.
Freeing up more memory becomes difficult
While you sleep, your brain does the work of processing the memories created that day. If you’re not getting your seven or eight hours, this consolidation cannot happen efficiently.
More energy and a better mood are restricted
They probably didn’t need to do a study on this concept. Still, to be clear, you must get enough sleep on a regular basis to wake up feeling rested. This state is conducive to a more upbeat, positive, and mindful mood.
A Few Basic Tips for Getting Enough Sleep on a Regular Basis
- Set up and adhere to a steady schedule for both bedtime and wake-up time.
- Naps are excellent but don’t nap too late in the day.
- Take time to make your bedroom a place that inspires healthy sleep.
- Be sure to exercise daily but not within a couple of hours of bedtime.
- Set a time — preferably about two hours before bedtime — after which you do not eat or consume substances like nicotine, alcohol, or caffeine.
- Try to limit your screen time (phone, TV, or other devices) as bedtime draws near.
There May Be Underlying Causes For Your Sleep Issues
You may already appreciate the value of “catching Zs.” You may also have tried to make it happen. If nothing seems to work, it could be due to underlying emotional issues. Talking with a therapist could be a helpful and healthy option as opposed to the ongoing use of pharmaceutical sleep aids.
Give yourself the opportunity to dig deep and better understand the causes behind your sleep issues. Without a regular sleep routine, your mood could become erratic and place some strain on your relationships at work and at home. Please read about how anxiety treatment can help and let’s connect today to schedule a confidential consultation.