We all know that feeling of being tired, short-tempered and a bit grouchy. But have you ever considered what’s happening in your brain to turn fatigue into low mood or even anxiety?
At Fabb Furniture, we understand the importance of choosing the right bed, mattress and pillow to ensure a good night’s sleep. So we’ve partnered with the experts at Mammoth who are behind our Women’s Health Men’s Health mattress collection which offers explain more about the relationship between rest, recovery and mental health.
Sleep has a high impact on mental health
High quality sleep is as important as eating, drinking and even breathing. It can have a positive impact on both your physical and mental health because your brain consolidates memories and processes information through the night.
Without adequate time cycling through the different stages of sleep, the natural flow of hormones is disrupted, which can result in problems such as low mood, increased blood pressure and anxiety.
A prime example of this is the direct influence that poor sleep has on cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone released by the adrenal gland. In manageable doses, cortisol helps your body deal with stressful situations, but when your cortisol levels are too high it can actually contribute to stress, as well as weight gain, high blood pressure, sleep problems, low energy and even diabetes.
Research has found that quality, timing and length of sleep can all have an effect on your cortisol levels. One study found that shift workers who slept during the day had higher levels of cortisol, and another found that insomnia can cause high cortisol for up to 24 hours. Even brief interruptions to sleep can cause a spike in hormone levels, making you more susceptible to stress and fatigue.
Sleep is critical for our memory, learning and outlook. It can also strengthen the immune system, making it less likely that you will suffer from depression or anxiety as a result of physical illness.
Choosing the right mattress and pillow can make all the difference to whether you wake feeling refreshed and raring to go, or like you need to roll over and grab some more sleep. Fabb Furniture offers a handpicked collection of mattresses that cater for every type of sleeper.
What's likely to affect my sleep?
In 2020, at the height of the Covid pandemic, Google reported that “insomnia” searches increased to their highest ever levels, coinciding with 56% of the UK population suffering from heightened stress or anxiety.
As this data shows, sleep problems like insomnia are often the result of a wider issue. In many cases, this may be anxiety fuelled by factors in your life which are making you feel stressed. In a recent study, 74% of UK adults admitted to feeling so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
The main causes of stress among UK adults are work, money and health problems, but relationship issues and family concerns are also common factors. Social media is another rising cause of stress, leading to paranoia, loneliness and depression. Any one of these stressors can increase your risk of sleeplessness.
For many people, the key to improving sleep health is to uncover exactly what is causing the stress that makes it difficult to sleep. Sometimes this stress can’t be attributed to one specific factor, but learning to manage wider stressors in your daily life can help to improve your sleep management.
So whether it’s work, finances or too much screen-time, positive lifestyle changes can help to improve both your mental health and your sleep, getting you out of what can otherwise become a vicious cycle.
Best practice for a good night’s sleep
One of the most effective ways to pinpoint exactly what is causing your sleep issues is to keep a sleep diary. By noting down the times you sleep, the number of hours you sleep and the quality of your sleep alongside other factors like medication, physical activity, diet and mood, you can gain a clearer idea of what is making a good night’s sleep feel so impossible.
Making changes to your bedtime routine can also help to improve your sleep. Ensure your bedroom is cool and dark and avoid caffeine and alcohol in the hours leading up to turning in for the night. Try to avoid bright screens like your smartphone for at least an hour before bed, as this encourages your body’s release of melatonin, our natural sleep hormone. Instead, try reading or meditating as a way to wind down.
Making small changes like these can help you sleep better, which in turn can work towards improving the symptoms of your mental health concerns. Likewise, addressing your mental health concerns head-on can help you enjoy a better quality sleep.
According to the World Health Organisation, between a third and half of people suffering from severe mental health problems receive no treatment. In many cases, this is because they do not seek support. No one should have to suffer in silence when it comes to mental health, so don’t be afraid to ask the advice of friends, family or your GP.
And remember: a good night’s sleep starts with a good sleep surface. So, never settle for a mattress or pillow that isn’t helping you drift off into a deep, restorative sleep.