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The Effects of Sleep on Mental Health


Exhausted woman falls asleep at her work desk due to poor sleep quality

Our mental health is one of the many reasons sleep is so important. The effects of sleep on mental health are tangible and observable. When you suffer from poor sleep quality or insufficient sleep, your behavior shows it.

Sleep and Cognitive Function

Perhaps the most obvious effect of sleep on all of us is our ability to think clearly and remain aware. If you’ve ever experienced drowsy driving, you know what we mean. The CDC estimates that over 6,000 fatal crashes per year are the result of drowsy driving. Sleep is not just rest for the body, but also for the brain! 

Beyond drowsiness, however, an unrested mind can suffer from clouded or fuzzy thinking. This simply means that we have trouble analyzing information and reaching conclusions. It can be as simple as being asked a question to which we know the answer, but recalling the information can feel like thinking through molasses. If your job involves hazards and potential risks, this effect can have devastating consequences. A rested mind is more alert and capable of making faster decisions.

Sleep and Mood

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, sleep deprivation puts you at higher risk for depression, anxiety, and irritability. This doesn’t mean that getting better sleep will cure you of these things, but inadequate sleep makes their occurrence more likely. Furthermore, if you already suffer from depression and/or anxiety, poor sleep can intensify the effects. A strong correlation is being drawn in the United States between mental health disorders and insufficient sleep.

What You Can Do

Dreamcenter multi sound machine with night light on nightstand in low lit bedroom

There are steps you can take to improve your sleep quality. The first step is to ensure that you allow enough time to get the sleep you need. The average adult needs seven or more hours of sleep every night. 

In addition to allowing enough time for sleep, you should minimize distractions. Frequent interruptions in sleep can dramatically lower your sleep quality. Many will gasp at this, but you should turn off your television when it’s time to sleep. In fact, you should stop using screens of any kind, including your phone, 30 minutes before going to bed. This allows time for your mind to relax, which in turn allows you to go to sleep faster. 

The other reason for turning off the television is that your mind, even in sleep, is still processing sound. If you’ve ever awakened from a dream, only to realize it was inspired by what was currently on the TV, you’ve experienced this phenomenon. If you need sound in order to sleep, it’s best to invest in a quality sound machine. These devices generate sounds that help to calm the mind and allow uninterrupted sleep. 

Transform your sleep environment into a slumber oasis with three easy steps. First, ensure that your bedroom is set to a cool, comfortable temperature for deep sleep. Next, darken your bedroom and minimize light exposure to prevent disruptions to your body's internal clock. Lastly, reduce or block out any noise distractions so that you can fall asleep and stay asleep. 

Woman lays across mattress in a row of mattresses at City Mattress

One of the most significant changes you can make to improve your sleep is to invest in a quality mattress. An ill-suited mattress will disturb your sleep through bodily discomfort. It’s important to choose a mattress that fits your sleep position and pressure relief needs. For example, if you’re a side sleeper, you’ll want to especially focus on pressure relief. Too much pressure on your shoulders and hips can cause frequent waking through the night. Back sleepers, on the other hand, may want a firmer mattress for optimal spinal alignment. Regardless, when you find the right mattress for you, it makes a world of difference in your sleep quality.

How City Mattress Can Help

Whether you’re ready for a new mattress or simply seeking advice on better sleep, City Mattress is here to help. Speak to one of our Sleep Experts, in-store or online, and they’ll ask the right questions to assist you in finding the right solutions. From blackout curtains and sound machines to mattresses and pillows, there’s a plethora of ways we can help you get better sleep. Let us know how we can help today!