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The Link Between Sleep and Mental Health


It comes as no surprise that restful sleep is vital to overall health and well-being. Scientists do not fully understand why the body must sleep but what is known is that the body must sleep in order to rest and recharge. The human body is capable of surviving longer without food than it can without sleep. Much more research is needed to explain why our bodies require sleep. There is a defined link between mental health and sleep. One can affect the other and vice versa. Lack of sleep can make existing mental health issues worse, while the same conditions can contribute to problems with sleep. To function at your best, it is recommended to get at least eight hours of sleep every night.


Individuals with conditions like anxiety, depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, and autism all face difficulties with sleep. Creating a peaceful sleep environment is a powerful way to support a healthy sleep balance. Sleep aids, like the Sleep EZ Shade, are beneficial in this process.


The Link Between Mental Health and Sleep

Many health conditions, including mental health concerns, can be made worse by a lack of proper sleep. The body not only rests and recharges during sleep, but the mind also processes emotions, evaluates and processes memories. Lack of sleep has been shown to negatively influence mood and emotional reactivity.


Over 300 million people in the world have depression. Usually marked with an increased need for sleep or hypersomnia, as many as seventy-five percent of individuals with depression also suffer from insomnia. This symptom can be characterized by the inability to fall asleep or not being able to stay asleep during the night.


Children and adults with ADHD and Autism struggle with restlessness, making getting to sleep and staying asleep very challenging. This creates a negative lop that leads to daytime sleepiness and aggravation of other symptoms. In addition, these conditions often create sensitivity to external stimuli like light and noise that can make falling asleep difficult.


The hyperarousal associated with anxiety and bipolar disorder leaves the mind racing. This disrupts the body’s natural process of drowsiness associated with the first stages of sleep. This sets the stage for worry about insomnia to take over, which further hinders proper sleep.


Sleep is broken down into stages. Each stage plays a pivotal role in the body and mind’s daily regeneration. Our bodies are equipped with a natural, internal clock called the circadian clock that regulates the body’s sleep and wake cycles. This system recognizes sunlight and tells the body it is time to be awake and alert. Once nighttime arrives and it becomes dark, the circadian clock initiates the process of preparing the body for sleep.  


Stages of Sleep

Sleep patterns follow a distinct structure. When the body is disrupted during these cycles, say by a room that is infiltrated by light, the circadian clock becomes out of balance which will not allow the body and mind to recharge as needed. Sleep cycles are classified as REM or NREM as follows between 90 to 120-minute cycles throughout the night.


The first stage of sleep is the time when the body transitions from daytime wakefulness to sleep. Non-rapid eye movement sleep, or NREM, is a lighter stage of sleep. Body temperature decreases, breathing and heart rates slow. Eye movements stop altogether. Muscles relax as the body prepares for the later, heavier stage of sleep.


The first phase of REM sleep happens about 90 minutes after you first fall asleep. REM stands for rapid eye movement and is characterized by quick movements of the eyes without sending visual messages to the brain. This is the Brain waves become more active, breathing rates and blood pressure rates increase. Dreaming occurs during this phase.


Ways To Improve Sleep

Many things, including mental health conditions, can negatively impact sleep, but there are steps you can take to ensure a restful night’s sleep. Creating healthy sleep habits is vital. You should go to bed at the same time every night and plan to wake at approximately the same time each morning. This includes weekends when it is not always required to wake as early. You should not eat for at least three hours before planning to go to sleep. Caffeine and alcohol should also be avoided near bedtime.


Creating an environment conducive to sleep is also very important. The bedroom should be a comfortable temperature with minimal distractions. Ideally, the room should be as dark as possible and quiet. It is not recommended to have electronics like televisions, cell phones, tablets, and computers in the bedroom. Not only will these distractions keep your mind active, but they also emit blue light that can throw off the body’s circadian rhythms.


Sleep EZ Shade

It is not always possible to have an ideal room in which to sleep. Apartment dwellers find that light and noise infiltrate bedrooms. Individuals who work at night also struggle to balance circadian rhythms as they coax their bodies to sleep during the daylight hours. As discussed above, individuals with mental health disorders suffer from symptoms like restlessness, overstimulation to light and noise, and insomnia that can benefit from sleep aids like backout shades for the bedroom.


The Sleep EZ Shades can combat these barriers to good sleep. These room darkening shades are attached directly to the surface of windows and block out any light. They also dampen noise. This creates a tranquil space that supports healthy sleep. The noise-reducing shades install in minutes and do not damage the surface of the window. They come in a variety of sizes or can be ordered in custom sizes to ensure a perfect fit.


Creating a peaceful space environment in conjunction with adopting healthy sleep habits can help combat disruptive symptoms of many mental health concerns. Adequate and restful sleep assist in leveling mood and may even decrease the severity of other symptoms.



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Links: Stages of Sleep: REM and Non-REM Sleep Cycles (

What Happens When You Sleep? Cycles & Architecture |

Mental Health and Sleep | Sleep Foundation

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