Sleep deprivation and mental health

It’s no secret that sleep helps us function effectively every day. A good night’s sleep is important to recharge the brain at the end of the day. When you have one bad night, you can immediately spot how lack of sleep affects your mental health. You will feel irritable, find yourself with a lack of patience and you won’t be able to concentrate.

Long term sleep deprivation can have severe health consequences including anxiety, depression and other serious mental illnesses. People can often feel quite desperate when they need to sleep but can’t.

Sleep needs to be recognised as a vital component of mental health. Links between sleep and depression are strong:

• Approximately three quarters of depressed patients have insomnia symptoms
• Sleep disturbance is common in patients reporting suicidal thoughts
• Postnatal depression is also associated with sleep deprivation

In children and young people, poor sleep patterns adversely affect learning and cognitive ability. This means they often fail to meet their full potential in school. Sleep deprivation is also linked to obesity. Children’s sleep problems are associated with high levels of parental stress and increase the risk of day time behavioural problems.

How to spot the signs of sleep deprivation

It’s important to look out for the signs of sleep deprivation in yourself, your child, a family member, friend or even a colleague.
Here are some of the common signs of sleep deprivation:
  • Yawning
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Moodiness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased appetite
  • Clumsiness
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Lack of motivation
  • ncreased sickness

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