People have become increasingly aware of looking after their health. Particularly following the pandemic over the last two years, we’re careful to treat our bodies and minds properly. But we, all too often, neglect our sleep.
There is a very strong link between sleep and our health. Perhaps the most notable link is the one between sleep and mental health and mood. You don’t need to be a doctor to recognise that poor sleep has immediate impacts. In fact, you’ve probably noticed sleep affecting your mood, or the mood of someone near to you already.
Ever woken up after a fitful, restless night’s sleep and found your fuse to be incredibly short? The simple morning tasks that you usually sail through become rage-inducing mountains to overcome.
That’s because a lack of sleep can make you irritable. Deprivation of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is linked to functional changes within the brain. This means that receptor activity can be altered, leading to changes in mood, like irritability.
Specifically, the amygdala becomes more sensitive when we are tired. This part of the brain is in control of that “fight or flight” response, and typically processes the more threatening situations. Because of its sensitivity after poor sleep, smaller things feel more like threats, which leads to us feeling irritable.
Not only does sleep affect our mood, but mood also affects our sleep.
People with stressful lives, be it down to work or maybe a difficult family situation, tend to experience poor sleep. Feelings of stress or anxiety can actually increase agitation and arousal, making it hard to fall asleep. Stress also means the brain is telling the body to be more awake and alert, which doesn’t help at bedtime.
Thanks to stress causing difficulties when it comes to drifting off, a poor night’s sleep is had. Unfortunately, this only piles onto the stress load. Those previously mentioned feelings of irritability creep in. We feel overly sensitive and unable to handle situations we are faced with, which creates even more stress.
Besides sounding downright unpleasant, this can be detrimental to hearth health. Stress often increases blood pressure. High blood pressure can eventually lead to a heart attack if not dealt with and reduced in time.
Technically, hunger is a physical feeling more than a mood. However, food and psychology are incredibly intertwined, and food can have a huge impact on mood.
But, aren’t we talking about how sleep affects our mood here? Yes, we are. Food very much comes into the equation as well.
When you haven’t had enough sleep the night before, you might have noticed it’s difficult to stop snacking. Well, there’s a term for that: sleep munchies. A study found that when a person has less than 4-5 hours sleep, there is an increased presence of lipids in their bloodstream. Lipids are molecules that help signal hunger, as well as what make eating satisfying.
Essentially, without enough sleep, food becomes that much more irresistible. When tired, people usually crave sugary foods over natural, healthier produce. Whilst the odd sleepy snacking day isn’t going to hurt, over a prolonged period this could have a negative impact on our overall health. Constant intake of unhealthy, fatty, or sugary foods can lead to physical discomfort, which has a big impact on mood.
According to the charity, Mind, poor sleep can lead to low self-esteem, low mood, and even thoughts of suicide.
There are strong links to lack of sleep and psychotic episodes as well. This includes psychosis, and paranoia. Being unable to sleep consistently can also cause loneliness, further contributing to depression. A lack of energy due to poor sleep can make it difficult to complete tasks to the best of our ability. This, in turn, can result in negative self-talk, worsening low mood.
A great night’s sleep definitely affects our mood. Experts recommend adults get a minimum of 7 hours sleep per night. When we do, the impact is night and day.
A restful night’s sleep nourishes both the body and mind. Physically, we are relaxing our muscles and enabling the body to recuperate. Mentally, we are providing our brains with the energy and ability to process things properly, allowing us to take on our daily lives with full confidence and control.
Good sleep helps to boost happiness, patience, confidence, and motivation.
At Ely Mattress, we’re serious about people getting good sleep. Natural mattresses increase the chances of fantastic sleep because they promote a sense of calm, whilst physically working wonders.
Natural materials, like wool and horse hair, offer the perfect firmness, as well as regulating heat for a perfect night’s sleep. No nasty toxins or harsh chemicals mean you’re not inhaling harmful gases, resulting in a healthy, relaxing sleep.
Take a look at our website to learn more about our 13 layers of natural mattress goodness!