Experts agree that sleep doesn’t make a whole lot of sense from a Darwinian point of view. It is costly for us to maintain, it could make us vulnerable prey, and it takes up about one-third of our lifetime. Yet, sleep has made it through since the beginning of our time, so it must serve an essential function. So, what are some ways sleep is good for your mental health? Let’s dig deeper to learn more about why sleep is important and how therapy can help you learn good sleep habits.
Many who struggle to fall asleep say that their thoughts keep them up at night. This may be linked to underlying anxiety, which commonly causes ruminating thoughts and difficulty relaxing.
When you’re stressed, your body releases hormones that are a call to action. This is appropriate when you are chasing a tiger, but not when you need to be resting or unwinding. Working with a therapist can be helpful in learning ways to decrease your stress and anxiety, so you can ease into a better night’s sleep.
One study found that as many as 44% of adults have their sleep interrupted because of stress. To prepare for a good night’s sleep, you’ll want to quiet the stress response from your nervous system.
The National Sleep Foundation reports that at least 95% of people use electronic devices right up until they fall asleep. Unfortunately, using technology can distract you from getting a good night’s sleep. The use of tech can cause too much stimulation to effectively wind down.
Experts agree that this kind of activation interferes with the body and brain’s natural rhythms that aid in sleep. Furthermore, blue light that is emitted by electronics will block the production of melatonin, which is the hormone that regulates sleep. Individual therapy is extremely helpful for learning ways to ditch these bad habits.
Upon waking, our brain produces a chemical called adenosine. This chemical accumulates throughout the day until so much of it is produced that you become sleepy. Caffeine blocks your brains’ receptors for adenosine so that you stay in a state of wakefulness longer. For this reason, it’s important to limit your caffeine intake in the 8 to 10 hours before you plan to sleep.
If you struggle with keeping a balanced sleep regimen or are feeling the effects of stress and anxiety weigh heavily on your life, reach out to speak with one of our trained therapists.