Healthy sleep is critical to repair and rejuvenate your body and mind, yet 50 to 70 million American adults live with a sleep disorder. Emotional and psychological variables play a major role in chronic insomnia, particularly symptoms of anxiety and depression.
While sleep issues were a significant concern prior to the 2020 pandemic, research shows that COVID-19 altered sleep schedules and sleep health behaviors around the world, taking a toll on self-reported sleep quality.
Typically, it would be expected that a decrease in social jetlag would lead to improved sleep quality. However, in two recent studies, it was found that overall sleep quality declined.
Social jetlag is defined as “the time difference between the midpoint of sleep on workdays and on free days.” It is a consequence of the difference between your biological rhythm and daily schedule in terms of social constraints.
Researchers believe that the self-perceived burden, which increased during the recent lockdown, potentially outweighed the expected beneficial effects of declining social jetlag.
Bottom line: While individuals were getting more sleep and showcased a more regular sleep schedule during stay-at-home orders, they reported that sleep quality had worsened. This is likely due to the stress of the pandemic.
Numerous studies have reported a strong link between poor sleep and health issues. Social jetlag, irregular sleep, insufficient sleep contribute to an increased risk of heart disease, weight gain, mood disorders, substance abuse, poor immune function, and more.
When it comes to mental health, you have likely experienced the relationship between sleep and mood first-hand. Following a sleepless night, you become more irritable and vulnerable to stress — and while resumed normal sleep can dramatically improve these short-term symptoms, for some, psychological issues continue day after day.
Studies have found that between 15 and 20 percent of people diagnosed with insomnia will develop major depression — and rates of anxiety are even worse. Research has shown that those with insomnia are 20 times more likely to develop a panic disorder.
“Sleep is the best meditation.” — Dalai Lama
Do you wake up feeling tired? Do you struggle to get through the day due to possible sleep problems? Is it impacting your mental health? If so, it’s time to make sleep a top priority.
While the relationship between sleep and mental health is complex, here are some suggestions to improve sleep quality and overall health.
Remember, your body and mind connected, which is why you need to focus on all aspects of your current daily routine. Whether you need to address your diet or sleep environment, the most important step is to become more mindful that changes do need to be made.
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Walking through the doors of a center like Valley Oaks for the first can be tough. We work hard to make sure that your visit is easy, streamlined, and professional while still addressing your needs. The reality is that more folks are seeking help than you’d ever imagine, and for good reason. More than 80% of folks that seek help for common mental health ailments see significant improvement. Your journey to life’s peaks can start right now… and start right here… at Valley Oaks.
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