Students frequently ask me, "How does insomnia affect mental and emotional states in the average person"

Normal sleep cycles contribute to a healthy person.

There are definite benefits to getting enough sleep. In a normal sleep cycle, there are 2 major states, and the amount of time spent in each changes as sleep continues on.

  1. In the REM (rapid eye movement) stage, dreaming occurs. Heart and breathing rates, and blood pressure and temperature all elevate to levels similar to the waking state. REM sleep seems to benefit emotional health, as well as enhance memory and learning.
  2. In the non-REM state, a sleeper enters 4 stages of sleep that gets increasingly deeper. As this happens, muscles relax, body temperature drops, and heart and respiration rates slow. At the deepest level, physiological changes occur that boost the immune system.

When our sleep is disrupted, stress hormone and neurotransmitter levels are affected, causing impaired thinking and emotional imbalances that augment the effects of mental disorders, and vice verca.

The connection between insomnia and depression

It is estimated that 65-90% of adults with major depression, and around 90% of depressed children exhibit some type of sleep disruption. Most depressive patients also suffer from insomnia.

Problems with sleeping increase the risk of depression developing, according to a long-term study involving 1000 adults. Those reporting a history of insomnia during an initial interview were found to be four times as likely three years later to develop major depression. Two other long-term studies in young people showed findings that major depression followed sleep problems.

Also, depressed patients experiencing insomnia do not respond as well to treatment as those without insomnia. Lack of sleep brings about more thoughts of suicide and more suicide deaths in depressed patients than in those who get normal amounts of sleep.

More On How Does Insomnia Affect Mental And Emotional States

The connection between insomnia and bipolar disorder  

Bipolar disorder, simply put, is a mental disorder characterized by alternating episodes of high (manic) periods (elation and industrious activity) and low periods (mainly marked by depression). According to studies, during a manic phase, as high as 69% to 99% of patients report experiencing insomnia or the need for less sleep.

During the depression phase, 23% to 78% report excessive sleep, while others have restless sleep or insomnia. Other studies over a longer period indicate that sleep problems and insomnia in bipolar patients get worse before a manic or depressive phase. Poor sleep seems to trigger a manic phase. The sleep problems negatively affect mood and play a part in relapse.

Anxiety disorders that are affected by sleep problems  

More than 50% of adults afflicted with generalized anxiety disorder are affected by sleep problems. Among PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) patients, sleep problems are common, and show up in panic disorder, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Insomnia can be a risk factor for bringing on any anxiety disorder. In a study involving teenagers, 27% of the time sleep problems preceded anxiety disorders (although sleep problems more commonly [69% of the time] preceded depression).

Insomnia can also elevate the symptoms of anxiety disorders and stand in the way of recovery.

By the way, would you like to find out more about how does insomnia affect mental and emotional states? The video explains how insomnia comes about and some natural treatments for it.

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By the way, would you like to find out more about how does insomnia affect mental and emotional states? The video explains how insomnia comes about and some natural treatments for it.

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