We’ve all experienced at least the occasional night of disturbed sleep and lived to tell the tale. However, over time a lack of shuteye can really take its toll. As well as physical ill-effects, insufficient slumber can have a major impact on mood. If you’re keen to find out exactly how a shortage of sleep may be affecting your frame of mind, keep reading.
How much is enough?
Firstly, it’s important to understand exactly how much sleep is considered to be enough. Experts suggest that most healthy adults need between seven and nine hours of shuteye per night. However, actually nodding off for this long can be much easier said than done. It’s thought that as many as one in three people in the UK have episodes of insomnia. You may fall into this category if you struggle to get to sleep, you wake up frequently or find yourself alert too early in the morning.
A one off
If this happens to you on an occasional basis or as a one off, you’re likely to feel tired and maybe a little grumpy the next day, and you might struggle to focus. However, there’ll be no harm to your health. As long as you manage to make up for your shortfall of sleep the following night, you should be completely back to normal.
A few sleepless nights
However, if you experience several consecutive nights of sleeplessness, things get a little more serious. Your brain may seem to fog over, meaning it’s hard to concentrate and make rational decisions. You could also start to feel down.
Your levels of tiredness will increase too and you could find you feel the need to nap during the day. More worryingly, your risk of accidents and injuries will rise. Whether you’re at work, on the roads or at home, you are more likely to make errors of judgement that put you in harm’s way.
Chronic sleep debt
If your insomnia develops into a chronic condition, the impact on your mood will be even more pronounced. Long-term sleep debt is associated with mood disorders including depression and anxiety. According to a 2005 study conducted by a team at the University of North Texas, people with insomnia were more than nine times more likely to have clinically significant depression than individuals who had healthy sleeping patterns. Meanwhile, the sleep deprived participants were over 17 times more likely to have clinically significant anxiety.
Another study, this time conducted by the Stanford researcher Maurice Ohayon, found that people with depression were five times more likely to suffer from sleep-disordered breathing problems, such as obstructive sleep apnoea.
Insomnia and mood disorders can feed off one another, quickly turning into a vicious cycle. For example, sleeplessness can aggravate the symptoms of depression, while depression can make it harder for people to fall asleep.
Other ways in which insomnia can affect your mood
There are other ways in which sleep, or more precisely the lack of it, can impact on your mood. For example, if you don’t get enough shuteye, you put yourself at greater risk of catching infections like colds and the flu. This is because a lack of slumber can disrupt your immune system, leaving you less able to fend off illnesses. When your body’s fighting infections, you’re likely to feel tired and generally low, and this can have a major impact on your outlook.
Also, a lack of sleep can make it harder to stay in shape. Studies have shown that people who get less than seven hours slumber a day are nearly a third more likely to be obese than those who get nine hours of rest. It’s thought that this is because when individuals are tired, they have reduced levels of the hormone leptin, which makes them feel full. Meanwhile, they have raised levels of the hunger-stimulating chemical ghrelin. If you’re finding it hard to stay in shape, your confidence and self-esteem could take a hit, and you may find everyday activities more difficult and less enjoyable.
Sleeplessness could impact on your attitude to romance too. It’s been found that men and women who don’t get enough rest tend to have lower libidos. Also, men who suffer from sleep apnoea often have reduced testosterone levels, which can lower their libidos.
How to increase your chances of getting a sound night’s sleep
If after reading this you’re concerned about the impact a lack of sleep may be having on your mood, now could be the time to take action. There are some simple ways to increase your chances of nodding off successfully at night.
Firstly, take a look at your bedroom and see if you can make any improvements to it. A top-quality bed is a must if you want to sink into peaceful slumber. If your current bed has seen better days or it simply doesn’t meet your needs any more, take a look at our range of adjustable beds. With their built in massage function, they offer supreme levels of comfort and convenience. Don’t neglect your mattress either. To avoid aches and pains through the night and when you get up in the morning, it’s important that you have a fully supportive sleeping platform. Our AVEON pocket sprung mattresses could be just what you’re after.
Think about your bedtime routine too. If possible, make sure you have some time to relax before you attempt to nod off. Perhaps a warm bubble bath would put you in the mood, or maybe some time reading a book would help you to enter a state of calm. Try to stick to regular sleeping hours as well.
You might also benefit from making some changes to your dietary habits. For example, steer clear of large meals late in the day and consider cutting down on your caffeine intake.
By following straightforward tips like these, you may find it easier to fall asleep at night. Ultimately, this could lead to major improvements in your mood and your general health and wellbeing - so it’s certainly worth making the effort!