I woke up feeling great today! I had a really good night sleep and I even woke up before my alarm went off! This is a very rare occasion!
That is because I have General Anxiety Disorder and I usually wake up several times each night. I know what it's like to feel down, with little energy because of a bad night of sleep. The "catch-22 is my anxiety causes me to not sleep well and not sleeping well aggravates my anxiety!
I came across this Harvard Medical School article about this very subject and I found it quite interesting.
Sleep and mental health are closely connected. Sleep deprivation affects your psychological state and mental health. And those with mental health problems are more likely to have insomnia or other sleep disorders.
Americans are notoriously sleep deprived, but those with psychiatric conditions are even more likely to be yawning or groggy during the day. Chronic sleep problems affect 50% to 80% of patients in a typical psychiatric practice, compared with 10% to 18% of adults in the general U.S. population. Sleep problems are particularly common in patients with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Traditionally, clinicians treating patients with psychiatric disorders have viewed insomnia and other sleep disorders as symptoms. But studies in both adults and children suggest that sleep problems may raise risk for, and even directly contribute to, the development of some psychiatric disorders. This research has clinical application, because treating a sleep disorder may also help alleviate symptoms of a co-occurring mental health problem.
The brain basis of a mutual relationship between sleep and mental health is not yet completely understood. But neuroimaging and neurochemistry studies suggest that a good night's sleep helps foster both mental and emotional resilience, while chronic sleep deprivation sets the stage for negative thinking and emotional vulnerability.
It's Interesting that they don't really know if sleep problems are a symptom or a cause of anxiety and depression!
Here are some of the key points of the article:
- Sleep problems are more likely to affect patients with psychiatric disorders than people in the general population.
- Sleep problems may increase risk for developing particular mental illnesses, as well as result from such disorders.
- Treating the sleep disorder may help alleviate symptoms of the mental health problem.
the article offers some advise on what you can do to improve your sleep and, in turn, reduce your anxiety/depression:
- Lifestyle changes: Reducing alcohol, nicotine and caffeine
- Physical activity
- Sleep hygiene
- Relaxation techniques
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
It is well worth the read if you are dealing with this very frustrating issue.
Let me know what you think or if you have had luck improving your sleep habits.