Are you wondering what happens when you do not get enough sleep? Read on to learn how poor sleep can affect you mentally as well as physically. Feeling grumpy in the morning is the least of it. Lack of sleep can lead to serious mood disorders.
How Does Sleep Affect My Mood?
Getting enough good quality sleep is essential to both your physical and mental health. You cannot be truly fit if you are suffering from disturbed sleep. Simply getting through your day without enough sleep is difficult, affecting both your ability to perform at home and at work. And a lack of sleep adversely affects your mood, which means you perform poorly. It can also harm your personal relationships. If you are not getting the recommended hours of sleep, you need to correct your sleep patterns. The CDC recommends that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep each night, but in 2021, the average American got less than that. Improving the amount of sleep you get is key to maintaining a positive mood and cultivating a healthy life.
How are Mental Health and Sleep-Related?
So what happens when you do not get enough sleep? Researchers have found clear links between mental health and sleep. One study showed that young people with insomnia had a four times higher chance than the general population of developing depression in three years. Insomnia is also linked with anxiety disorders as well as bipolar disorder. This chronic lack of sleep is also associated with an increased risk of suicide.
In addition, experts have found a link between early childhood sleep difficulties and adolescent psychosis and borderline personality disorder - a truly disturbing connection. Sadly, poor sleep can begin at an early age and cause hardships throughout a child’s life.
To further complicate matters, people with mental illness often sleep poorly as a result of their conditions. Depression and anxiety, for instance, often lead to poor sleep and vice versa. Lack of sleep and mental illness can result in an endless problematic cycle. Fortunately, you can find solutions.
Can Too Much or Too Little Sleep Affect Me?
Too little sleep can affect your mental health and also your daily performance. Physically, chronic sleep deprivation can lead to diabetes, heart issues, high blood pressure, immunity issues, and low sex drive.
Too little sleep is also linked to increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, something that can lead to weight gain and a prematurely aged appearance. You will look and feel older and less energetic when you don’t get enough rest. When you are sleep disturbed, your entire life suffers.
Too much sleep is not the answer either. In fact, routinely oversleeping leads to its own list of problems. Experts recommend that healthy adults get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you find yourself sleeping for 10 or even 11 hours regularly, you have a sleep problem. Those who sleep more than the recommended amount are often linked with the following conditions:
• Heart disease
• Type 2 diabetes
• Death from medical issues
It’s not entirely clear whether people with these conditions sleep longer or whether too much sleep helps to cause these conditions. Researchers do know that oversleeping is connected to poor health. Certain medical conditions may be causing the need to sleep longer than 9 hours, including chronic pain, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and certain medications. If you are sleeping too much or too little, you should visit your medical professional for an evaluation. You should also urge your fitness administrators to check out the programs that can provide advanced resources.
How Does Sleep Affect My Negative Mood?
If you are already suffering from a mood disorder or are simply having a rough week, your bad mood will only get worse if you are sleep deprived or have irregular sleep cycles. Studies show that people who work different schedules throughout the week will suffer from mood issues as much as those who are sleep-deprived.
As mentioned before, chronic lack of sleep can lead to a mood disorder, but even one night of poor or inadequate sleep may cause increased stress and irritability. Several bad sleep nights may leave you sad, angry, and mentally exhausted. If you are already in a bad mood, missing sleep is just going to make your attitude worse.
The good news is that getting enough sleep can drastically improve your mood after just one night. The uncharacteristic grumpiness you feel after sponsoring a sleepover for ten-year-olds will probably dissipate after a good 7-9 hours of shut-eye. The benefits of being well-rested are many. You will enjoy better judgment and improved memory. And if your sleep condition is chronic, improved sleep habits combined with other behavioral therapies can make a huge improvement in how you relate to people and perform your responsibilities.
How Does Sleep Affect My Positive Mood?
If things are going great in your life, getting the right amount of sleep will only enhance your mood. You will be physically able to do more, and your mental status will be more likely to stay positive. At home and at work, you will experience better cognitive ability, and, on top of those benefits, you will be able to approach challenges more positively.
But even positive people can experience bad moods from poor sleep quality. Small problems may become huge irritants and cause you to lash out uncharacteristically. Even your ever-smiling barista may find it hard to be pleasant after a poor night’s sleep.
How to Improve My Mood After a Lack of Sleep
No matter the cause, when you are sleep disturbed, your mood and performance will suffer. In the short term, you can take steps to stay alert and feel emotionally and physically better.
1. Simplify your day. If you’ve had a bad night, try to rearrange your tasks so that you don’t have to tackle high-stress items.
2. Drink a lot of water. Dehydration makes sleepiness more pronounced. Staying well hydrated will help keep you alert and less moody.
3. Catnap. If you can, take a 20-minute nap around 2 pm. If necessary, use your break to nap in your car at work. Just this little extra sleep can make you feel 100 percent better both physically and mentally.
4. Go outside. A brisk walk, preferably in the sunshine, will help you wake up and improve your mood.
The only real cure for lack of sleep is to implement better sleep practices, but in the short term, the above tips will help.
Sleep and mood are definitely entwined. Simply having one bad night can make it difficult to maintain a positive mood throughout the next day. Chronic sleep issues can contribute to serious mood disorders, which in turn make it even more difficult to sleep. What happens when you don’t get enough sleep? Nothing good. And too much sleep can be almost as damaging.
If your nights are sleep disturbed, consult with your medical professional for help establishing healthy sleep patterns. Also, encourage your fitness administrators to learn about programs that will benefit you. Work on your physical and emotional fitness to help improve your rest. The human body is not designed to thrive on either too little or too much sleep. You cannot experience the quality of life you deserve if sleeping is a problem for you.