Sleep Deprivation Can Affect Your Mental Health
Sleep and mental health are closely connected. Sleep deprivation affects your psychological state and mental health. And those with mental health problems are more likely to have insomnia or other sleep disorders.
Americans are notoriously sleep deprived, but those with psychiatric conditions are even more likely to be yawning or groggy during the day. Chronic sleep problems affect 50% to 80% of patients in a typical psychiatric practice, compared with 10% to 18% of adults in the general U.S. population. Sleep problems are particularly common in patients with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder .
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Rest Up: Sleep Powers Your Social Life
Between our jobs, our social lives, exercising and family obligations, itsall too easy to sacrifice sleep to accommodate our overbooked schedules.
The problem with that strategy is that sleep provides the energy you need to power back up for another busy day.
You cant perform at your best unless you give your body time to rejuvenate during sleep, says Rachel Salas, M.D. , an associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Connection Between Sleep Deprivation And Accidents
Believe it or not, some of the biggest disasters in our history were caused by sleep deprivation!
For instance, the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island in 1979 could have been avoided if people who were working on the project not sleep deprived.
The same happened with the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl or the Exxon Valdez oil spill. While its not just a chronic lack of sleep that led to these disasters, the mistakes piled up and the outcome had to be supported by the entire world.
Overworked people are more prone to mistakes and less efficient in an emergency.
As such, sleep deprivation can be a public threat! According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsiness behind the wheel is just as bad as driving drunk. In fact, stats say that tired people cause about 100,000 vehicle accidents in the US per year.
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Sleep Disorders That Commonly Affect People With Adhd
People with ADHD are commonly diagnosed with the following sleep disorders:
- Sleep-disordered breathing SDB consists of a spectrum of conditions, ranging from primary snoring to obstructive sleep apnea . This disorder primarily causes upper airway dysfunction during sleep, leading to obstruction of airflow while sleeping. 25-30% of people with ADHD are diagnosed with OSA compared to only 3% of the general population .
- Restless legs syndrome This sleep disorder is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to move the legs to relieve uncomfortable sensations at rest. While RLS is not common in the general population of children, it is more prevalent among children diagnosed with ADHD .
- Circadian-rhythm sleep disorders The major component of circadian-rhythm sleep disorders is a misalignment of sleep patterns and the timing of daily routines. In children with ADHD, it is common for them to become more hyperactive in the evening and increase daytime sleepiness. In adults with ADHD, there is a high prevalence of comorbidity of ADHD and insomnia .
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Do you suspect that bipolar tendencies may be affecting your quality of life or the life of someone you care about in any of the above areas? PCH is here to help. Reach out to our specialists today for a complimentary consultation, and well help you understand your options for achieving well-being in all areas of your life.
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What Is Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep.
There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central.
- Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common of the two. It is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep. Symptoms of OSA may include snoring, daytime sleepiness, fatigue, restlessness during sleep, gasping for air while sleeping and trouble concentrating.
- In central sleep apnea , the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to tell the body to breathe. This type is called central apnea because it is related to the function of the central nervous system. People with CSA may gasp for air but mostly report recurrent awakenings during night.
Common Treatment Types For Insomnia
Medications tailored to your own specific needs are prescribed. For instance, if anxiety or depression are the underlying cause of your condition, your physician may prescribe you with antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. Medications for sleep can be used as well, but are typically prescribed to be used on a short-term or as-needed basis.
Non-medical methods, such as cognitive behavior therapy, hypnosis, sleep restriction, stimulus control, and relaxation techniques, can also be used to treat insomnia. Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding caffeine and alcohol, are also advised.
How Are Sleep Disorders Diagnosed
If you suspect that you may have a sleep disorder, discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider. He or she can perform a physical exam and help you identify the difficulties you are having with sleep. Keeping a sleep diary for two weeks may be helpful to your healthcare provider. Some illnesses can cause disturbed sleep, so your healthcare provider may order tests to rule out other conditions.
If your healthcare provider suspects that you have a sleep disorder, he or she may refer you to a sleep disorder clinic. A sleep specialist will review your symptoms and may suggest that you undergo a sleep study.
A sleep study or polysomnogram is a test that electronically transmits and records specific physical activities while you sleep. A sleep study can be done at home for select patients. The recordings become data that is analyzed by a qualified healthcare provider to determine whether or not you have a sleep disorder.
In order to determine if you have a sleep disorder, it is important to pay attention to your sleep habits by keeping a sleep diary and discussing patterns and characteristics of your sleep with your healthcare provider. Many common sleep problems can be treated with behavioral treatments and an increased attention to proper sleep hygiene. Consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your sleep patterns.
How Insomnia Affects Your Life Causes And Treatment
We all know how hard it is to get through a day when weve had a bad night of sleep.
Fuzzy thinking, headaches, and fatigue can make it seem like were slogging through the mud as we try to accomplish tasks and take care of responsibilities.
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Now imagine feeling that way for days or weeks on end. For the more than 60 million Americans who struggle with insomnia each year, this prolonged period of sleeplessness is a reality.
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What Causes Sleep Disorders
Sleep problems can be caused by various factors. Although causes might differ, the end result of all sleep disorders is that the body’s natural cycle of slumber and daytime wakefulness is disrupted or exaggerated. Eight factors include:
- Physical .
- Have difficulty controlling your emotions?
- Need to take naps almost every day?
Sleep And Sociocultural Environment
The consequences of poor sleep may be long term. Just as nutrition and exercise must be included in healthy lifestyle choices, sleep habits must also be considered in this balance. This requires prioritizing our sleep needs within school, family, and community settings. When choosing how to balance our cultural and personal commitments with our sleep requirements, it is helpful to remember that sleep is an important factor for performing at our best physically, mentally, and emotionally. When we put off sleep to study or to practice a skill, we may actually be preventing our mind from absorbing the information we want it to retain or our bodies from developing as we had hoped.
Another factor to be considered with evening activities is how much they stimulate a child. Although physical activity during the day is healthy for sleep, our bodies need time to cool down after exercise. Similarly, our minds need time to settle down after activities that require deep concentration. In addition, the stress of performing well, whether it be in an organized activity or a social context, may keep us from falling asleep easily if it occurs too close to bedtime.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Sleep Disorders
- What kind of sleep disorder do I have?
- How severe is my sleep disorder?
- Do you think my sleep disorder will go away on its own, or will I need treatment?
- How can I improve my sleep hygiene?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Do I need a referral to see a specialist?
- Do you recommend any medications to help with my sleep disorder?
- How often should I return to see you?
- Are there medicines I should take?
- Are there medicines I should stop taking?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Sleep disorders may not be deadly, but they affect your quality of life so often and so severely that they can disrupt your thinking, weight, school/work performance, mental health and your general physical health. Common ones like narcolepsy, insomnia, restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea prevent you from getting the long, deep sleep you need to function at your best.
If youre struggling with your sleep, dont hesitate to see your healthcare provider. Your health, and therefore your quality of life, depends on good sleep. Practice good sleep hygiene and follow your healthcare providers instructions.
Depression And Its Effect On Your Life
Clinical depression is also called a major depressive mood disorder. It is a serious and common medical condition, which negatively affects the way you feel, act, and think. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8.1 percent of Americans aged 20 and over experienced depression in a given two-week period. Different people experience this condition in different ways. In some cases, it might influence your relationships with people. In other cases, it might interfere with your work, leading to less productivity, and it can also lead to some chronic health conditions.
Depression might look like a minor health condition until you experience severe forms of it. Major depressive disorder is a serious illness that can affect everything you do in your daily life. It is not a condition that people can quickly recover from, like a stomach bug or cold. There are a lot of people with depression who just think that they are feeling sad, and believe it will go away with time. However, there are millions of other people for whom depression is a constant drain. Therefore, extra support and help for those people are essential.
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Narcolepsy Symptoms Are Hard To Describe
Because narcolepsy is a rare disease affecting about 3 million people worldwide, its symptoms are not well-known or understood by most people. Proper diagnosis can take years because symptoms may go unrecognized or misdiagnosed, even by doctors.1,2
Adding to this frustration, common narcolepsy symptoms seriously disrupt daily activities at school, work, and home. When family, friends, coworkers, and partners see us struggling, they often do not understand the deeper physical, emotional, and mental toll that symptoms take.
Lack Of Sleep Impairs Performance
Lets say that a person who needs eight hours of sleep per night only gets six. This two-hour sleep loss can have a major impact including:
- Reduced alertness
- Errors of omission making a mistake by forgetting to do something
- Errors of commission making a mistake by doing something, but choosing the wrong option
- Microsleep brief periods of involuntary sleeping that range from a few seconds to a few minutes in duration.
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How Does Sleep Affect Your Mood
Sleep deprivation has been linked to an increase in negative emotions as well as a reduction in positive moods, according to research. In addition, sleep deprivation is frequently a sign of mood disorders such as sadness and anxiety. Finally, poor quality sleep has been shown to increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
The connection between depression and insomnia has long been recognized patients with major depressive disorder are at increased risk for developing insomnia. However, recent studies have also shown that insomnia can lead to or exacerbate feelings of depression. It’s possible that people with insomnia feel depressed because they’re not getting the necessary rest needed to feel refreshed.
Here are some other ways in which poor sleep habits may cause or contribute to feeling depressed:
You go to bed tired but can’t fall asleep right away. This means you’re spending most of your time awake thinking about things from the day that make you unhappy or stress out about things you need to do. Not only is this affecting your mood negatively, it’s also causing damage to your brain by keeping it active while it tries to fall asleep.
You wake up feeling exhausted but can’t get back to sleep. If you’re waking up every morning feeling drained and unable to get back to sleep, then this is indicative of a larger problem.
You Are Constantly Sleepy Throughout The Day
It only makes sense that people who suffer from sleep apnea and lack of sleep are very tired the next day. Bouts of drowsiness and excessive daytime sleepiness are a normal side effect of sleep apnea. Not only does this affect your energy and productivity, it can also make everyday tasks like driving, dangerous. In fact, one study published in the journal Sleep found that sleep apnea more than doubled the risk of motor vehicle accidents.
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When To Seek Professional Treatment
If you have been struggling with the signs of sleep disorders or are worried that difficulty in sleeping is impacting your mental health, talk to your doctor about your symptoms.
They may conduct a sleep study in order to get a better look at your sleep patterns and recommend treatments that are appropriate for any sleep disorders that might impair your ability to rest.
Treatment For Sleep Deprivation
The most basic form of sleep deprivation treatment is getting an adequate amount of sleep, typically 7 to 9 hours each night.
This is often easier said than done, especially if youve been deprived of precious shut-eye for several weeks or longer. After this point, you may need help from your doctor or a sleep specialist who, if needed, can diagnose and treat a possible sleep disorder.
Sleep disorders may make it difficult to get quality sleep at night. They may also increase your risk for the above effects of sleep deprivation on the body.
The following are some of the most common types of sleep disorders:
- circadian rhythm disorders
To diagnose these conditions, your doctor may order a sleep study. This is traditionally conducted at a formal sleep center, but now there are options to measure your sleep quality at home, too.
If youre diagnosed with a sleep disorder, you may be given medication or a device to keep your airway open at night to help combat the disorder so you can get a better nights sleep on a regular basis.
The best way to prevent sleep deprivation is to make sure you get adequate sleep. Follow the recommended guidelines for your age group, which is 7 to 9 hours for most adults ages 18 to 64.
Other ways you can get back on track with a healthy sleep schedule include:
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Food And Drink Habits
The nutrition we consume plays a major role in our mental health regardless of whether we struggle with a condition or not. If those that suffer from bipolar disorder were to follow a diet that provides much needed nutrients, the severity of symptoms may decrease.
Some mental health professionals recommend keeping a food journal in order to have a written account for which foods and drinks you have consumed. Most of those suffering from bipolar disorder find that having a balanced and regulated diet that includes nutrient rich veggies, fruits, meats, and grains. These can provide some relief from certain symptoms and can help try and reign in some of the more severe mood swings that are attributed to bipolar disorder.
Most of the foods that are recommended for bipolar disorder are:
- Lean meats like chicken and turkey breast, which help provide protein.
- Fruits and veggies which help with digestion, mood, and provide vital nutrients and minerals. Examples include:
- Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries
Of course, you may find a certain course of nutrients works better for you. We suggest experimenting around with what you consume and, from there, documenting the foods that make you feel better.
Creating The Right Sleep Environment:
- Going to bed early and avoiding distracting factors that may affect your sleep.
- Avoiding high dosage of caffeine before bedtime is highly recommended.
- Selecting a suitable and comfortable mattress is the best choice.
- A supportive mattress can improve your sleep drastically.
- Seek professional help for sleep disorder solutions, if the symptoms of sleeplessness are severe.
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