How important sleep is to your physical health cannot be understated. But did you know that it’s just as important for your mental health? And we don’t mean occasional nights you can’t seem to stop your thoughts that lead to a grumpy you the next day. Long-term sleep health affects long-term mental health, especially on the scale of feeling happy/content vs low/depressed. Let’s talk about how –
Why Bad Sleep Messes with Your Mood
There are three major things that happen when you’re working with a night of subpar sleep:
1. When you don’t cycle through sleep stages correctly and/or enough, your brain has trouble regulating your emotions. This can lead to irritability and/or low mood.
2. Poor or too-little sleep messes with your serotonin production, which is directly involved in mood. This can lead to feelings of depression and/or anxiety.
3. Sleep deprivation increases levels of cortisol – the stress hormone. Basically, lack of quality sleep results in a chronic, low-level stress response the next day, which can make you feel low, anxious, irritable, etc.
Now multiply that for years and years of time. What happens? Problems.
Healthy Sleep Leads to Happier People: the Evidence
Sleep health is a huge issue in our country – and a bunch of other ones, too. As a result, there’s been a lot of exploration into how sleep affects mood and mental health. And it certainly points to quality sleep directly contributing to a happier life. Here are a few recent studies to support that claim:
A 2021 cross-sectional study on inadequate sleep and frequent mental distress used data from the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System’s information on 273,695 people aged 18-64. They found that people who got inadequate sleep, meaning less than 6 hours per night, were 2.5x more likely to experience frequent mental distress than people who routinely got more than 6 hours’ sleep per night.
A 2021 meta-analysis of 65 randomized, controlled trials (total of 8608 people) on the effects sleep health has on mental health found several strong implications:
Improving sleep had a medium statistically significant positive impact on overall mental health, rumination, anxiety, and depression.
Improving sleep had small-to-medium statistically significant effect on stress levels.
Effects of sleep improvement are dose-dependent, meaning bigger improvements lead to bigger positive mood changes.
Sleep is directly related to the experience of mental health struggles.
A 2015 sleep study was the first one of its kind to ask the question of the role sleep delay plays in mood vs the role of sleep architecture (read: how sound or disrupted your sleep is). They did this by comparing one group, whose sleep was delayed, and another group, who was awakened several times during the night. And they had some pretty interesting results:
Disrupted sleep resulted in significantly less slow-wave sleep (the good, restorative stuff) than delaying sleep.
Positive mood worsened with more nights of poor sleep.
With comparably-reducing sleep times, sleep disruption had a significantly larger negative effect on mood than sleep delay.
A Custom-Made Mattress Can Help You Sleep More Soundly
A big factor in whether or not you’ll sleep well tonight is the bed you’re sleeping on. And if your mattress is old, unsupportive, low-quality, or simply not tailored to you – it’s not helping your sleepless situation. You’d be surprise the wonders accomplished by a bed that was made to fit you.
CustomMattress.com hand-crafts custom mattresses in any size, shape and firmness, and for any sleep spot – from a sofa bed mattress to a giant family XL mattress that’s 12 feet wide. With high-quality materials like memory foam, natural latex and organic cotton, we can create your ideal mattress and bedding to match. That way, when your head hits the pillow each night, you’re set up for a successful sleep.
Take a look at our mattress selection to get started. Happy customizing!