The Facts About Sleeping: How it can Affect your Mental Health

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The impact of sleep deprivation can have a huge significance on your health. According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 40 million people suffer from more than 70 different sleep disorders. They also state that 40% of people experience daytime sleepiness that can lead to a long list of problems:

  • Increased depression
  • Increased stress
  • Decreased creativity and productivity
  • Increased dependence on caffeine
  • Decreased pain tolerance
  • Increased risk of injury
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes

When it comes to a consistent sleep schedule many ask the questions “Why do I need to have a consistent sleep schedule? Can’t I just catch up on sleep later?”
“Catching up” on sleep is a common solution proposed by many in our fast-paced environment.  Often, hectic schedules and daily stressors prohibit us from getting the rest we need and the idea of “making up” for sleep lost is appealing to those who have the ability to sleep in every now and then, like on weekends.  In reality, the natural circadian rhythm unique to each individual relies on a consistent amount of sleep every night.
Lack of a good night’s sleep, even just for one night, actually contributes to a negative cycle of sleep that causes imbalances throughout the body.  Some of the health consequences include diminished cognitive performance, impaired immune system function, elevated blood pressure, insulin resistance and metabolic changes which drive the impulse to overeat.

Although we have the ability to change habits and activities of daily living, some of the blame may be in our genes. Research suggests that sleep duration, excessive sleepiness and even time of day preference (“early worm” vs “night owl”) can be hereditary.

If you are feeling sluggish or are having trouble feeling energized, there are some helpful tips to help get your much-needed rest:

 Taking a nap

  • Optimal nap times should be between 10-30 minutes
  • The best time for a nap is between 2-3 pm. Although this may not be optimal considering schedules, napping later in the day can affect nighttime sleep schedules


  • Increase metabolism, help stave off depression, decreased risk of obesity
  • Increase alertness and enhance mental focus

Sleeping position

  • Sleeping on your back
  • Place a pillow underneath your neck and your knees
  • Sleeping on your side
  • Place a pillow between your knees
  • Flex your hips and knees
  • Sleeping on your stomach
  • Place a pillow underneath your abdomen and pelvis
  • Use a pillow for your head if it doesn’t cause neck pain, if so, trying sleeping without a pillow under your head

Eliminate distractions

  • Turn off the TV
  • Silence/turn off phone
  • Use earplugs and/or eye masks
It is recommended that adults aim for 7+ hours of sleep a night. So find a comfortable pillow and sleeping position and get ready some sleep, your body will thank you.