Did you know one in three adult Americans don’t sleep as much as they should? Insane, right? Sleep deprivation is a pretty serious thing, and when you don’t get enough sleep it can affect your mental health. Sure, there’s coffee and other ways to energize us when we didn’t catch enough Z’s the night before, but nothing compares to a great night of sleep.
Psychology Today contributors Richard Taite (CEO and founder of Cliffside Malibu Treatment Center) and Constance Scharff, Ph.D. recently published an article which includes a few great reasons why getting good sleep can keep you not only sane, but mentally healthy.
One big reason is your brain needs time to cleanse itself. When you go to sleep at night, you’re giving not just your body time to rest, but also your brain. You know that groggy feeling you get after not getting enough sleep? That’s because your brain didn’t have enough time to get rid of all the neural waste (the environmental data your brain collects throughout the day). Let your brain take some time to rejuvenate tonight by getting at least seven hours, so you don’t feel so cloudy tomorrow.
Another reason, as if that wasn’t enough, was that your brain needs to have some time to process “powerful events.” When we go through something traumatic, it may be hard to shut your mind off and go to sleep, but it’s very important you do because it can reduce the risk of having post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Taite and Scharff write that,“sleeping within a few hours of a traumatic event acts as a preventative treatment against developing PTSD, helping the brain get things in order so the survivor can effectively process and move on from the trauma.”
The third reason Taite and Scharff present has to do with peace of mind, or mindfulness. They share that the Schools of Medicine at UCLA and the University of Southern California found that subjects who reported difficulty sleeping had better sleep when they engaged in a “mindful awareness practice” (or MAP). Taking some time to meditate during the day or right before you go to sleep can help you become more mindful. Bonus: it will definitely help you sleep better at night, but it has loads of benefits for your overall mental health.
Now, let’s put this all to use. Today, take a few minutes to be mindful and tonight, why don’t you try getting at least seven hours of sleep – your mind, body, and soul will thank you!