There is a growing number of people who are not getting a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, there are serious implications when sleep escapes us. It can impact mental acuity, memory, motor functions, communication, create mood swings and energy fluctuations which in turn increases anger bursts and anxiety.
Sleep is not just about having the suggested 8 hours a night; it is about allowing the body and mind to rest and restore to harmonic equilibrium. When this does not happen, the body will resort to a fight or flight response, which can become the status quo. This means that the body is in a constant state of panic, which impacts the ability to experience joy, happiness and contentment.
Sleep and mental health
Sleep issues are on the increase, as are anxiety and mental health issues. There is a proven association between mental health disorders and insomnia. Whether lack of sleep causes mental health issues or mental health issues cause sleeplessness, the important thing is to give the brain a chance to rest and rejuvenate.
Lack of sleep can also have a big impact on our emotions. While the logical functions are compromised to a degree, the greatest effect is often felt on our emotions. No matter how a person thinks and behaves, they are not immune to emotional influences.
It is common to suppress unfavourable emotions that arise from situations that occur throughout the day. These are pushed deep into the pit of the stomach and left for another day (with the hope of that day being never.) Suppressed emotion will naturally create anxiety.
However, the more emotion is suppressed, the more erratic and unpredictable emotions can become. Eventually this will manifest into physical health issues, as a way to release the suppressed emotions. Some common issues include: weight gain/loss, stomach issues, headaches, inability to focus and more.
How to deal with emotions and get a restful night’s sleep
Dealing with your emotions and protecting your mental health does not need to be overly complicated.
- The first step is being aware that there is a negative emotion and it is having an unfavourable effect on your life. This is crucial because pretending there is not a problem will only amplify the symptoms.
- Take a moment to decide whether action is needed. Be honest with yourself. If you plan to suppress the emotion for now then admit to yourself that that is what you are doing. This provides insight to where you are at and where you are going.
- Last but not least, make a point to add fun, humour and silliness to your day. This will in turn allow the brain to relax, expend excess energy and assist you to focus.
So, take a slow, deep breath and consider if your sleep is giving you what you need or taking it from you. It can be adjusted, it can be changed. It simply takes the decision to do so.
Hally is a leading expert in health and well-being, namely as a Behavioural Therapist at The WellBeing Practice. Hally holds a multitude of qualifications covering the areas of behavioural therapy, counseling, coaching, neuro-metaphysics, relationship and sexual therapy and more.