Whilst mental health is highly complex, numerous studies have proven that in virtually every case of mental illness, there is pre-existing sleep disruption.
Poor sleep is, therefore, a reliable early indicator that our mental health is at risk. Whilst it is quite normal to lose some sleep during periods of stress, the danger is that the fact we are not sleeping well can further increase the threat to the health of our minds.
The primary function of sleep is to sort our memories, much like when we reboot our computer. A good night’s sleep clears the junk files and prioritises important facts and feelings. When this process is fractured we may wake having not fully processed the emotions attached to the previous day’s memories.
If our sleep has been disturbed, there’s a chance that our emotions have not been reset and we enter the next day somewhat below par. So long as we have a good sleep the next night all is well. If insomnia prevails the chances are we will enter a spiral of anxiety, often resulting in medication.
Addressing sleep disruption early will halt the decline and the research suggests, could immunise us from mental illness.