Are you sleeping ok?
Sleep is imperative to our wellbeing. Sleep deprivation impacts our psychical and mental health.
Let’s discuss the lack of sleep and how it effects our mental state
Our bodies heal during sleep. This is the time our bodies go about repairing themselves.
There are different types of sleeping problems.
- I can’t get to sleep and toss and turn
- I sleep really lightly and the slightest noise wakes me
- Sleep apnea – where someone’s sleep is not deep enough to add any value to the sleep bank
- Pain can often interfere with our sleep
Different stages of our lives require different sleep
- Babies come into this world and spend most of their time sleeping
- Children require less sleep than babies but they continue to require more sleep than adults
- Then we become adults, super humans who believe we can survive on coffee and other stimulants to get the most from ourselves. Untrue because we too need to sleep well
Sleep problems often mean underlying issues
In order to think clearly, our bodies need to be nourished. This includes ensuring we eat correctly, avoid alcohol, tobacco, too much caffeine. If our sleep behaviours still need tweaking it may be time to see your doctor and find out why.
My mental health is suffering because of lack of sleep
Tasha, 45 yo female with teenage children. Tasha works from home during Covid and finds things tough in this new working environment. She feels isolated and cannot refer problems to peers and bounce off other co-workers when questions arise.
Over the last 18 months during Covid, Tasha has found herself drinking more and more regularly. Her alcohol consumption has slowly increased and she is now drinking during her shifts. She is not sleeping well. She goes to bed at around 11 pm each night, but tosses and turns, before her alarm pings at 6am. A shower and coffee bring her to life, but her lack of energy and feeling she never gets enough “good sleep” is impacting on her.
Foggy brain as she refers to it is increasing her depression (something she has had for the last 10 years).
Diagnosis following a sleep study
Tasha has sleep apnea and has been waking during the night, even though she wasn’t aware she was waking. At times she stops breathing which is common in those with sleep apnea. Her health specialist has prescribed she buys a CPAP machine, get more exercise, reduce the consumption of alcohol and lose some weight.
In many cases changing our life style can and does improve our health.
Which comes first the sleep problem or the other problems?
Stress can cause problems with sleep and lack of sleep can increase our stress levels. A little like the chicken and the egg scenario. Using alcohol or drugs to self-medicate and reduce stress normally leads to massive fallout. We all know when we are not coping, it doesn’t normally come as a surprise, but turning a blind eye to problems often makes those problems bigger.
Speak to a professional
Maintaining contact with your GP is the first step in our health plan. We get our vehicles serviced and we need to make sure we touch base with our GP’s regularly to ensure our own bodies are “serviced”. Doctors are not mind readers, so sharing is important and assists the doctor in his diagnosis.
Mental health cannot always been seen like a broken arm or leg. It simmers and any person who is predisposed to mental health issues may implode with seemingly little provocation. It is really important in these current times (Covid) that we all look after ourselves mentally, emotionally and physically.
Treatment costs money – I can’t afford to pay for the treatment
There’s always things we can do that don’t cost money.
- Regular exercise
- Intake of healthy fuels (food)