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Can lack of sleep affect your mood

18-10-2013

Can lack of sleep affect your mood

We have all had those days before. Bad sleep the night before has made us short tempered, grumpy, irritable and no fun to be around. Truth is that a poor night’s sleep means that you will often be in a bad mood the next day but the connections between sleep and mood go far further than this. Our moods are, in part, regulated by our sleep.

The Research
A variety of different studies have found that even partial sleep deprivation, just a few hours less in a night, can have a massive effect on your mood. A recent University of Pennsylvania study  found that subjects who were limited to only 4.5 hours of sleep a night for one week reported they felt more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted than normal. As soon as they resumed normal sleep patterns they all reported a dramatic improvement in mood.

Cuts both ways
However, it is not all a one way street. Not only does your quality and quantity of sleep affect your mood, but your mood and your mental states can also affect  your sleep. Anxiety increases agitation and arousal, which make it hard to sleep. Stress also affects sleep by making the body aroused, awake, and alert. People who are anxious or stress will struggle to sleep.

Psychological Issues and Insomnia
There is an undeniable connection between psychological problems and sleep. People with depression will often also have insomnia and difficulty sleeping is sometimes the first symptom of depression. A number of studies have found that around 15 to 20 percent of people who have insomnia will develop serious depression. Depression is not the only psychological issue connected with sleep, in fact most mental health problems will also come with sleep related problems and the more scientists look into these areas the more they have come to understand the intricate connection between sleep and moods.

Addressing Sleep Problems Can Make a Difference
Fortunately it is not all bad news. The fact that sleep can affect moods is good news as it means that if you can improve your sleep you can change your mood for the better. If you sleep poorly and feel depressed, anxious, or less emotionally responsive, you need to look at your sleep habits and see if there are steps that you can take on your own to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep. There are many things that you can do, from changing your diet to making your sleep space more conducive to sleep. The reality is that understanding how sleep and mood are connected empowers you.

Conclusion
Sleep and mood are connected. It is a two way connection. Your mood can affect your sleep and your sleep can affect your mood. This means that you need to monitor both and if you want to make a change in one then you might need to change the other. In other words, if you are depressed or anxious then sleeping better might help you. If you are not sleeping well then you might need to look at how you are feeling as this could be the cause of your insomnia.


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