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World Mental Health Day 2020: Know How Lack Of Sleep Affects You Mentally

World Mental Health Day 2020: Both sleep disorders and depression share common symptoms such as the lack of energy, difficulty in concentrating, memory loss, sexual dysfunction, and loss of interest in hobbies or social activities, etc.

World Mental Health Day 2020: Know How Lack Of Sleep Affects You Mentally

World Mental Health Day: Both quantity and quality of sleep is important


  1. It is important to get good quality sleep on a daily basis
  2. Sleeping for 7-9 hours is important for adults
  3. Lack of sleep can cause daytime fatigue and sleepiness

World Mental Health Day 2020: October 10 is observed as World Mental Health Day across the globe. This day is meant to raise awareness around mental health issues, and mobilise efforts to provide support to people dealing with them. World Mental Health Day falls amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. People with mental health issues have faced even greater isolation than before. Millions of people are still struggling to grieve the loss of loved one. Economic consequences of pandemic are being felt across the world, especially in India.

World Mental Health Day 2020: Reasons why sleeping well is important 

All these reasons have made it imperative to address mental health concerns as the top priority. From poor digestion to sleep disturbance, mental issues can affect you in multiple ways.

Sleep disturbance can affect you both physically and mentally. Lack of sleep can increase the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure and diabetes to name a few.

In accordance to this, we speak to Dr Sibasish Dey, Head, Medical Affairs, Asia and Latin America, ResMed, on how sleep affects mental health and what you can do about it.

Also read: Mental Health: 4 Tips That Can Actually Help You Cope Up With Depression

Here are some excerpts from the interview:

1. Why is sleep important for your mental health?

Sleep disorder and depression are linked to each other, not only by conventional wisdom but also by increasing clinical evidence. Both sleep disorders and depression share common symptoms such as the lack of energy, difficulty in concentrating, memory loss, sexual dysfunction, and loss of interest in hobbies or social activities, etc. A good night's sleep essentially allows you to wake up with a fresh mind, and therefore focus better on cognitive tasks and better productivity.

Lack of sleep makes one wake up tired, irritated and not able to function correctly. Poor sleep affects all aspects of life-health, work, social life, relationships, and so on. It has been found to affect work-life balance, affect inter-personal communication and decrease innovation in work place.


Lack of sleep can be bad for your mental health
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: Know The Importance Of Yoga For Your Physical and Mental Health

2. Can lack of sleep cause or worsen depression? Explain.

Disturbed sleep and depression are interlinked. Several clinical studies have also demonstrated that sleep apnea may be closely related to depression. Studies have found that up to 20% patients suffering from depression may have underlying sleep apnea. Due to intermittent relaxation of throat muscles our airway collapses on itself and we stop breathing for a few seconds while we are sleeping, disrupting the sleep cycle. This phenomenon may happen multiple times at night and resulting in disturbed sleep.

The ongoing pandemic has caused people to deal with loneliness to economic hardships to juggling work and eventually resulting in stress levels to skyrocket and quality sleep hours to plummet. Constant lack of sleep leads to neuro-cognitive impairment, leading to loss of productivity at work, inability to concentrate and issues in completing day-to-day tasks.

3. What are the signs of sleep deprivation?

It is important to understand that both quality and quantity of sleep is important. American Association of Sleep Medicine (AASM), recommends 7-9 hours of sleep for adults. Also, sleep should be devoid of micro-arousal or awakenings so that the quality is maintained during the sleep cycle.

In addition, it is vital to be aware and notice the signs of sleep deprivation, which if consistent can impact your mental well-being. A few symptoms are:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Unexplained daytime fatigue
  • Feeling of irritability and inability to concentrate

Also read: Mental Health: The Act Of Kindness And Why It Matters

4. Elaborate on the risks associated with lack of sleep.

Sleep disturbances are linked to cardiovascular diseases, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. In fact, in a comprehensive clinical review published in Diabetes Spectrum Journal, of American Diabetes Association, Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA - the most common form of sleep apnea) has been implicated to alter glucose metabolism, promote insulin resistance, and is associated with type 2 diabetes. In fact almost 50% of type 2 diabetes mellitus patients have association with OSA.

So, overall, sleeping well is essential as it helps in the proper functioning of the body. Sleep helps conserves energy, supports our immune function to heal and repair damaged tissues, helps regulate neurocognitive abilities.

5. What are a few practical tips that can help you sleep well?

Sleeping well is not a one-night phenomenon. So, below mentioned are few tips that will help you sleep well night after night:

  • Maintain a routine for your bedtime: This regulates your biological clock, and you tend to feel sleepy automatically, closer to your routine rest time and helps you wake up on time as well.
  • Avoid naps: A nap in the afternoon might keep you awake at night, thus causing sleepiness the next day. Avoid naps, unless necessary.
  • Moderate exercise during daytime and exposure to sunlight also helps get good sleep.
  • Create a comfortable sleeping environment: Make sure your bedroom is calm, quiet, and relaxed and do not change your sleep settings very frequently. Your body gets used to a particular setting and finds it difficult to adjust to a new one now and then.
  • Do not consume caffeine in the evening: Avoid tea, soda, coffee and even chocolate in the hours before you go to sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol as it impairs the sleep quality.

Also read: Insomnia: 5 Diet Tips That Can Help You Ensure A Good Night's Sleep

Start a relaxing pre-bed ritual: Taking a shower, stretching, or reading a physical book, and sticking to it even on days when you are not tense, helps your brain wind down and get into sleep mode.

Finally, if you are facing any work or life-related stress, write down any worries, even your to-do list, before you go to bed, it helps clear the mind.

(Dr Sibasish Dey, Head, Medical Affairs, Asia and Latin America, ResMed)

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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.


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