The Connections Between Sleep And The Mind

The Connections Between Sleep And The Mind

Even in​ this fast-paced and hectic world, sleep is​ one of​ those things that are considered indispensable. Regardless of​ how much stress is​ placed on someone, a​ person's body and mind simply will not allow one to​ go for an​ extended period without some sleep. There are numerous ways to​ keep a​ person awake despite the overwhelming desire to​ go to​ sleep, such as​ caffeine and work-related stress and anxiety. The toll that sleep deprivation and insomnia have on the body is​ well-documented, but there is​ less concrete evidence on the effects on mental health. it​ is​ generally assumed that the mind does not fully shut down during sleep, but that does not mean it​ does not require a​ period of​ rest. There are several potential side effects of​ insomnia upon one's mental health, some of​ which can aggravate the problem itself.

Among the most well-documented side effects of​ a​ lack of​ sleep is​ instability of​ emotions. People who frequently lack sleep tend to​ be moody and irritable. in​ some cases, their emotions seem to​ be on hair-triggers, shifting from “normal” to​ “angry” with the slightest comment. There has yet to​ be any form of​ concrete information on why this is​ the cause, but it​ is​ a​ well-documented problem related to​ insomnia. it​ is​ theorized that sleep somehow replenishes certain chemical receptors related to​ emotions within the brain, such that a​ lack of​ sleep disrupts the normal production of​ these chemicals. it​ is​ currently unclear whether being asleep cuts off production or​ increases them, or​ if​ it​ affects these compounds in​ some other way. There are other theories as​ to​ why insomnia affects emotions, but those also lack concrete studies to​ back up their assumptions.

One of​ the more infamous side effects of​ insomnia is​ depression, though it​ is​ arguable whether one is​ really a​ product of​ the other. in​ the same way that emotions are affected by a​ lack of​ sleep, one's overall mood can also be affected by prolonged insomnia. Since depression is​ closely tied to​ one's emotional state, the disruption caused by a​ lack of​ sleep can be enough to​ push a​ person into clinical depression. However, there is​ some argument as​ to​ whether or​ not insomnia is​ truly a​ factor for depression. There are some that believe that while there is​ a​ connection, it​ is​ more viable to​ assume that depression leads to​ a​ lack of​ sleep, rather than the other way around. it​ should be noted that, despite the ramifications on mental health, neither theory has been put under serious academic scrutiny.

Some have also attributed some anxiety disorders to​ insomnia. There is​ some question as​ to​ whether or​ not this actually counts, however. While there is​ clear evidence that connects the two problems, most are inclined to​ believe anxiety disorders cause insomnia, rather than the reverse. However, there is​ some data showing people developing minor anxiety disorders during a​ period where they lack adequate sleep. as​ with the above, further study is​ required due to​ the lack of​ any concrete statistical data to​ back up the theories and observations.

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