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The Transition House, Inc.

The relationship between sleep and mental health


Sleep is extremely important to your mental health. Mental health and sleep share a very complex and close relationship. Lack of sleep can cause a number of mental health issues, and, in turn, mental health issues can cause difficulty sleeping and insomnia, in some cases. These mental health issues include: mood disorders (depression, bipolar disorder), anxiety disorders (obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety), and psychotic disorders (schizophrenia). Mental health issues can affect sleep in a number of different ways...

Anxiety disorders, like OCD, PTSD, or anxiety, can affect the amount of sleep you get. Racing thoughts and stress can cause you to fall asleep later or even have disturbed sleep, restless sleep, or nightmares. When you have a period of time where falling asleep or staying asleep becomes a prominent issue, it’s not uncommon to develop anxiety around fears of not being able to fall asleep, or fear of waking up from nighmares, which can result in insomnia.

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On the other hand, when dealing depression and some other mood disorders, you will see an increase in actual time spent sleeping. When you are depressed or suffering from a mood disorder, you may find it hard to wake up and face the day and your responsibilities; in response, oversleeping to avoid these issues is common. The extra sleeping, whether it's during the day or in the morning, can result in a offset sleep schedule. There are also instances where troubling thoughts (which are common with depression) can keep individuals awake at night and cause them to rise early in the morning.

Sleep problems can sometimes result in the formation of mental health issues. If a sleep problem persists for a long period of time, it can cause issues with an individual's mental health, or can cause an existing problem to worsen.

The best way to combat these sleep issues are to come up with solutions that work for you. Whether it’s through establishing a routine or making sure your sleeping area is optimized for your comfort, find what works for you. Everyone is different.

Counseling is always an option for those who feel the need to seek outside help. Our Counseling Center offers counseling for a wide range of behavioral health problems. You can read more about our offerings here.

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