Insomnia and Chronic Negativity: How Lack of Sleep Affects Mood
There are many powerful arguments for getting a good night’s rest. These include the effect of sleep on your health, appetite and ability to concentrate. Beyond the obvious benefit of purchasing a quality mattress that fits your budget, you need do everything you can to make sure you’re getting a good night’s rest consistently.
Harvard Medical School even has a dedicated Division of Sleep Medicine committed to determining the best ways for people to optimize their sleeping patterns. One of the things this team discovered is that lack of sleep dramatically increases the likelihood of depression and anxiety.
The Link between Depression and Sleep
In some cases, lack of sleep is an early onset indicator of depression. One major study determined that insomniacs are five times more likely to develop depression. However, the causal link between the two is not yet completely understood. Specifically, researchers aren’t sure if depression causes insomnia or the other way around.
In either case, the ability to consistently get a good night’s rest is a key indicator of emotional well-being. Simple, consistent sleep habits can have a huge effect on your overall appreciation of life.
Steps to Build Good Sleep Habits
In order to maximize the mood-enhancing benefits of a proper sleep schedule, pay attention to the following:
- Sleep Schedule Consistency – Getting eight hours of sleep is great, but if you’re switching the timeframe by more than an hour or two each night then you are not optimizing your schedule. Set a reasonably strict bedtime and stick to it to experience the best outcome.
- Establish a Routine – What do you do right before going to bed? The more routine your pre-sleep activities are, the better able you are to train your brain to prepare for sleep. This is an important part of maintaining a consistent sleep schedule.
- Use the Bed For Sleep – One of the major mistakes that people frequently make is staying in bed to watch TV or read. This carries a psychological significance similar to the routine mentioned above. If you train the brain to associate being in bed with watching TV, it will expect to do that every time you are in bed.
- Wake Up Quickly – The mood-enhancing effects of a good night’s rest may be improved by waking up quickly. Staying in bed for too long beyond the time you actually wake up can diminish these feelings even if you got enough rest that night. Maintaining a disciplined morning routine can help immensely.
While most people find it difficult to adhere to all of these guidelines, simply working one or two into your daily routine can be enough to see a real improvement in your mood. With enough time, you’ll be able to incorporate other good habits into your sleeping schedule and keep your mood as positive as possible in the process.