Why Our Brains Need Sleep | Sleep and Mental Health

Psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety are the leading cause of insomnia. In recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 3–9), let’s look at the link between mental health issues and sleep, as well as treatment considerations. 

It’s important to remember both mental health and sleep are affected by a number of factors. Here, we will just focus on their connection to each other.

Mental Health and Sleep

According to the Sleep Foundation, sleep is closely connected to mental and emotional health. Mental health problems can affect our quality of sleep and vice versa. Sufficient sleep — especially deep, REM sleep — helps our brains process emotional memories and unlearn frightening or painful experiences. Without good nights’ rest, we’re unable to consolidate positive emotional information, which can influence our mood and ability to regulate emotions.

Sleep scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, believe this emotional processing breaks down in people with depression, and instead, negative memories are consolidated during REM sleep. Over time, this contributes to an increasingly bleak mindset and worsens depression.

Causes and Effects

Around 75 percent of depressed people show symptoms of insomnia. They tend to wake up early and not be able to fall back asleep, which can also worsen depression. People who don’t have psychiatric disorders but suffer from insomnia are more likely to develop a disorder like depression later in their life, according to WebMD.

Even an interruption to our regular sleep pattern can be harmful to our mental wellbeing. A 2020 study in Norway found that delaying going to bed for two hours, but still getting up at the normal time, stifled positive emotions, such as joy, enthusiasm and a sense of fulfillment. This effect increased with every consecutive day of delayed sleep.

Treatment Considerations

There’s growing evidence that sleep problems can exacerbate psychiatric disorders, and psychiatric disorders can lead to sleep problems. While this connection creates a harmful cycle, it also presents an opportunity to help manage these issues. Everybody is different, so if you face mental health and/or sleep problems, it’s best to see a healthcare professional to discuss the right treatment plan for you. 
One way to safely improve your slumber is to develop good sleep hygiene. Maintain a regular sleep schedule, avoid stimulating activities like exercise before bed, and create a comfortable sleep environment. Another safe option is Slumber Sleep Aid. Our premium CBN products provide a better night’s rest without any negative side effects the next day. Learn all about natural CBN and find the product that fits your needs.


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