Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing

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Brain

Sleep Your Way to a Healthy Mind

Guest Blogger: Michelle Gordon

Many people these days are not just getting enough sleep. Ask people if they are getting enough sleep and most will likely tell you that they could use a few more hours a night. Our lives are so full of work, family, friends, and play that getting enough rest just seems to fall by the wayside. But the truth is that adequate rest is essential to not only a healthy body but a healthy mind. Lack of sleep can cause a host of mental problems and can even lead to depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders. So read on to find out how getting enough sleep can give you a healthy mind and make you think twice about staying up late tonight.

Sleep is the period of time when the body and brain recharge and restore themselves. These repairs are necessary to maintain health and wellness. Consider a study that deprived rats of sleep. A normal, healthy rat will live between three and four years. A rat deprived of sleep completely will die after three weeks. This illustrates just how much our bodies need sleep to function. When the brain is asleep, it is repairing neurons and damage done by free radicals. It also uses this time to catalog memories and learn concepts and categorize them for later recall. Sleep is also important for alertness as well. Reducing sleep by just an hour and a half can reduce attentiveness by 32%. So cutting back on sleep will have negative effects on memory, learning, and attentiveness.

Sleep has a great effect on mood as well. Lack of sleep has been shown to reduce the ability of a person to put an event into context and produce an appropriate emotional response. This means that a sleep-deprived person may overreact to a situation emotionally due to being not well-rested. Lack of sleep has also been known to cause depression and to worsen its effects. In one study, patients with insomnia were four times more likely to develop depression than those who slept normally. Sleeping problems also related to an increase in suicides and suicidal thoughts in depressed people. People with bipolar disorder are also negatively affected by lack of sleep. Lack of sleep has been shown to trigger manic episodes in those with bipolar disorder. In addition, sleep problems have also been linked to anxiety disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and ADHD.

The evidence available makes it clear that lack of sleep will have great effects on mood and mental health. Extended sleep deprivation can cause and worsen mental disorders, reduce alertness, hinder memory, and inhibit learning. And these are just the mental issues it causes; there are countless other negative effects of not getting enough sleep, such as increased incidence of accidents, inhibited growth, and lowered immune response. So do yourself a favor and make sure to get a good night of sleep every night, and you will be helping to keep your mind healthy.

About the Author

Michelle Gordon is a sleep enthusiast and an online publisher for the latex mattress specialist www.latexmattress.org. She writes articles about natural health.

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Recovering The Self is a forum for people to tell their stories. Individual contributors accept complete responsibility for the veracity, accuracy, and non-infringement of their reporting.
Inclusion in Recovering The Self is neither an endorsement nor a confirmation of claims presented within. Sole responsibility lies with individual contributors, not the editor, staff, or management of Recovering The Self Journal.