Not getting enough sleep skews our ability to regulate our emotions. In the long run, this can increase our risk of developing a mental health condition. In turn, conditions such as anxiety and depression may cause further sleep disruption.
Shakespeare’s description of sleep as “nature’s soft nurse” was closer to the truth than he could have known.
Insufficient sleep increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
Sleep is essential for the physical upkeep of the body, but it also helps maintain cognitive skills, such as attention, learning, memory, and emotional regulation.
Getting a good night’s rest even underpins our ability to perceive the world accurately.
Research suggests that going completely without sleep for 3 or more nights in a row results in perceptual distortions, hallucinations, and delusions.
The latest discoveries about the importance of sleep for physical and mental well-being come at a time when technology is putting pressure on sleep time as never before. Social media, the internet, TV on demand, and video games are increasingly keeping us from our beds in the evenings.
Poor sleep is a recognized risk factor for the development of a range of mental health issues.
A study that followed 979 young adults in Michigan, for example, found that insomnia was associated with a four-fold higher risk of depression 3 years later.
A review of research found evidence that insomnia preceded the development of not only depression but also bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders.
The researchers also found a link between insomnia and an increased risk of suicide.