Sleep, Stress & Mental Wellness - Couples Therapy Yaletown Vancouver

Posted on Mon, Nov 16, 2015

Foundations of Mental Health - Sleep

The CDC reports that lack of sleep, less than recommended seven to nine hours per "night", is highly correlated with an increased risk of cancer, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and diabetes as well as a higher incidence of accidents (vehicular, falls, etc.) and work absenteeism.  Lack of sleep sets the table for chronic stress.

The CDC reports that lack of sleep, less than recommended seven to nine hours per "night", is highly correlated with an increased risk of cancer, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and diabetes as well as a higher incidence of accidents (vehicular, falls, etc.) and work absenteeism.  Lack of sleep sets the table for chronic stress.
From a mental health perspective, sleep problems affect 50% to 80% of adults dealing with mental illness, including depression, anxiety, ADD, and bipolar disorder. Sleep issues are now thought to be bi-directional: they are not just symptoms, they also give rise to mental health issues. At a more basic level, a poor night’s sleep can lead to negative thinking patterns, difficulties with attention and concentration, rumination, and feeling emotionally dysregulated.
Anecdotally, clients that I have worked with frequently underestimate the influence that sleep, or lack of it, has on their wellbeing.  Rumination, negative thinking (e.g. "catastrophizing"), difficulties being present or “mindful,” all can easily follow a shortened sleep.  Learning to prioritize sleep and enhancing your capacity to achieve the recommended seven to nine hours can go a long way in not only staving off mental health concerns, but medical, mood and relationship issues as well. 
We often fail to realize the ease with which we can be emotionally triggered when in sleep debt. Educationally, not only is it more difficult to follow the instructor or the textbook when overtired, but our ability to retain what we have learned decreases as well.
Its funny how some of the most basic things can be overlooked.

The following is republished with permission from The Conversation

Why sleep could be the key to tackling mental illness

Author: Professor of Circadian Neuroscience , University of Oxford

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