The Link Between Sleep and Mental Health

Once upon a time, I used to be good at sleeping. Then, when I was 18, I went through a rough stage of life and it affected my sleep schedule in a major way. It became almost impossible to go to sleep, stay asleep, and get the right amount each night. I’d be going through my day on 3-4 hours on average – it wasn’t fun.

Since life does go on, I got through that rough stage, but my relationship with sleep didn’t get better. And though it’s improved in the years since then, it’s very safe to say that I don’t sleep as much – or as well –  as a healthy person should.

I’ve felt this way for years, but it’s confirmed now because I was gifted a FitBit in December (‘gifted’ in the literal sense – someone else was given one and they didn’t want it, so I swooped right in). One of the features of the device is that if you wear it to bed, it analyzes your sleep based on your heart rate, movements and activities. It’s not fun to see that analysis the next day. Since I’ve started wearing it, I have yet to reach the recommended eight hours of sleep and my ‘sleep score’ is always in the ‘Fair’ range.

And even when I fall asleep, I don’t say stay asleep. I regularly wake up 2-3 times every night, and it’s not because I have to go to the bathroom. Once I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t fall back asleep for an hour. This isn’t a good or bad thing to me – it’s just the way it is.

So why don’t I sleep? It would be easy to just say ‘anxiety’ and leave it at that. But whatever feelings I have at bedtime are different than what I feel during the day. I’m not always tired, I’m usually uneasy and since I’m not looking forward to the next day, I don’t actually want to sleep. And that attitude goes from just being in my head to translating to my body real quick.

It can get to be annoying, but I know this is a common issue among people with depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. And it makes sense, at least in my case. But even though the issue is common, we all have our own reasons, and I think that’s what can make it so frustrating. I know that even my own reasons make me feel isolated, even though the result is the same one millions of other people struggle with. So I decided that this weekend I’m going to do some research, and I’ll be back next week to deliver some tips and tricks for falling asleep. In the meantime, I hope we can all get some shuteye here and there. I know I’ll be trying.

Got any tips for better sleep? Let me know in the comments and I’ll include them in my post next week!

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4 thoughts on “The Link Between Sleep and Mental Health

  1. Peanut Recovery January 16, 2020 / 12:50 pm

    I love to use white sounds to fall asleep faster. It’s helping me good on the most days.


    • Nathan Smith February 6, 2020 / 2:03 pm

      I should give white sounds another try, I definitely gave up easy the first time I did it. Great suggestion 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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