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There is a reason for a saying “woke up on the wrong side of the bad” and most people have realized in one way or another how seep or lack thereof can significantly affect their mental state. It is established that sleep is closely related to our emotional and mental health and is clearly linked to some of most common mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, etc.

In numerous studies that have been conducted to examine connections between sleep and mental health one conclusion is evident – there is a bidirectional relationship between the two. Insomnia or poor sleep conditions is a contributing factor to development and worsening of a range of mental health disorders. Likewise, mental illnesses make it more difficult to sleep well. 

While more research is needed to determine the nature of the correlation between the two, it is clearly evident that improvement of sleep patterns can have a major beneficial effect on our mental health and is oftentimes a key factor in improvement of existing mental disorders. 


In What Way Is Mental Health Related to Sleep?


Multiple researches have shown that the activity of our brain fluctuates while we sleep and is different in different stages of sleep. In non-rapid eye movement (NREM) phase, brain activity is slower, yet with small peaks of energy bursts. In rapid eye movement (REM) phase, bran activity is fast, more intense and this phase is thus associated with our ability to dream. 

It has been established that each phase of sleep carries significant importance for brain health and that brain activity during sleep greatly impacts mental and emotional health.

There is a clear connection between sufficient sleep in REM phase and the brain’s ability to process emotional information. While we sleep, our brain works to remember and evaluate our memories, feelings and thoughts and it has been established that the lack of sleep in REM phase can be especially harmful for the development of positive emotional content. It influences our emotional reactivity, our mood and is directly tied to different mental illnesses and their severity, including suicidal behaviors.

Traditional view was that sleep problems were a symptom of mental health disorders. Newer research has shown however, that due to their bidirectional relationship with mental health, sleep problems can be both a cause and consequence of mental health issues.

Another aspect of sleep problem that can be linked to mental health is obstructive sleep apnea. It is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep, which directly reduces oxygen levels in the body. As a result, the sleep is fragmented and disturbed. Obstructive sleep apnea appears more frequently in people who are suffering from mental health disorders. 

While further studies are needed to determine all the complexities of the connection between mental health and sleep, there is a clear evidence that demonstrates multifaceted relationship between the two. 

Amethyst Azul organization has been formed with a specific goal in mind - to help relieve mental and physical pain and increase access to care to those who need it the most. We believe that with our work, dedication, and the help of our donors, we can make a difference. If you have any inquiry about our program or the ways you can get involved, give us a call at 410-870-5482, or send us an e-mail. We are looking forward to hearing from you!