Mental health problems and insomnia often go hand in hand. Living with a mental health problem can affect how well we sleep, while poor sleep due to a sleeping problem like insomnia can negatively impact our mental health.
Let’s discuss the connection between mental health and insomnia and explore some strategies to manage both mental health and insomnia.
Understanding The Connection Between Insomnia and Mental Health
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 40% of people suffering from insomnia also meet the criteria for psychiatric or mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorders. Moreover, individuals who received a diagnosis of insomnia are 10 times more likely to develop mental health problems like depression and 17 times more likely to develop anxiety disorder compared to those without insomnia.
The relationship between insomnia and mental health disorders is bidirectional, with each condition exacerbating the other in a vicious cycle. For example, the lack of quality sleep can amplify the emotional and cognitive symptoms of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. According to some theories, sleep loss due to insomnia also causes cognitive and mood changes, induces a stress response, increases the level of inflammatory markers, and impairs emotional regulation and stability.
Conversely, individuals with mental health disorders experience persistent feelings of fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and decreased motivation, making it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep. Insomnia is also a core feature of mental health problems like depression that are clinically severe enough to need treatment.
In a nutshell, the combination of insomnia and mental health problems creates a vicious cycle where symptoms of both conditions intensify each other.
Strategies to Manage Insomnia and Mental Health
Since there is a multifaceted relationship between mental health conditions and disrupted sleep, the treatment for both issues also goes hand in hand. Some steps that help improve sleep may even health prevent mental health conditions.
To get the optimal treatment of mental health and sleep problems, it is important to receive proper care from our trained sleep specialist. A sleep specialist can review the potential benefits and risks of different types of treatments and provide tailored care, which may include:
According to the Sleep Foundation, behavioral therapy for insomnia has also shown a reduction in the symptoms of mental health conditions, improving the emotional well-being of the patient.
Behavioral therapy or modification is a type of psychotherapy that identifies and changes unhealthy and problematic behaviors by teaching new and healthier habits. Behavioral therapy not only helps with mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder but also has a proven track record in reducing sleeping problems.
A trained sleep specialist utilizes behavioral therapy to reframe an individual’s thinking to improve both their sleep and mental state.
Improving Sleep Habits
Sleep hygiene is one of the most common causes of insomnia. By improving your sleep hygiene, you can cultivate habits that can reduce sleep disruptions and improve your mental state.
Some steps that you can take for healthier sleep habits are as follows:
- Set a proper bedtime routine and maintain a steady sleep schedule.
- Take a warm bath at least two hours before bed to increase melanin production and create a relaxing sensation.
- Avoid tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol in the evening.
- Maximize comfort and support from your pillows, bedding, and mattress.
- Block out all the excess light and sounds that could disrupt your sleep.
- Engage in calming activities before bedtime, e.g., read books, engage in mindfulness meditation and breathing exercises, and practice gentle stretches to relieve muscle tension.
- Dim lights and put away all the electronic devices and alarm clocks for an hour or more before bed.
- Set up a peaceful and tranquil space to promote better sleep.
Insomnia Treatment in Reno-Sparks, Nevada
At MelioREM Sleep Clinic, our team is led by board-certified and fellowship-trained sleep physician Dr. Ezenwa, who works closely with our patients to find the perfect solution for each of them. Our sleep medicine doctor offers a comprehensive range of treatments, including behavioral modification, bright light therapy, medications and supplements, oral appliances, hypoglossal nerve stimulation therapy, and CPAP devices, to address the sleep disorders of our patients and help them achieve optimal sleep.
The behavioral modification therapy provided by our sleep specialists also helps improve the state of mind of patients and prevent mental illnesses.
If you would like to schedule a private consultation with our sleep medicine specialist for insomnia treatment, contact us today at (775) 557-4900 or fill out our online appointment request form