Sleep deprivation impacts your energy levels, memory retention, focus, attentiveness, and more. If you can achieve a consistent sleep routine, you will feel better in all areas of your life. What qualifies as sleep deprivation? How much sleep do you actually need? Let’s explore this topic more and find solutions to improve your sleep schedule.
How Many Hours of Sleep Do I Need?
You’ve probably heard that adults need 8 hours of sleep per night. However, the amount of sleep you personally need will depend on several factors. Adults who are highly active throughout the day may require more sleep than those with less active lifestyles. Some adults naturally thrive on less sleep than others. The rule of thumb is to get 7-9 hours of sleep, but that can be adjusted to suit your lifestyle.
Note that if you experience several days of sleep deprivation, your body may go into a “sleep debt.” You may need to sleep longer than normal for one night to repay that debt and recharge your mind. If you know you will not get much sleep for a few nights in a row, try to schedule a recharge night for yourself.
How Sleep Deprivation Affects Mental Health
There are many side effects of sleep deprivation, including loss of control while driving and slow productivity at work. What you may not have considered is the mental health side effects of sleep deprivation. Your mind relies on sleep to sort through your thoughts and emotions. Your brain spends all day making sure your legs move, your eyes blink, and your body is working effectively. At night, it can focus on the memories you’ve made.
If you don’t get enough sleep to process those emotions, you wake up with the weight from yesterday on your mind. This compiles over time, leaving you tired and stressed before the day has begun. That is why we focus on sleep maintenance in depression counseling and anxiety counseling. Being well-rested will do wonders for your mental health.
Good Sleep Is about Quality vs. Quantity
You can experience sleep deprivation even if you sleep for 8 hours each night. If you wake up multiple times in the night, your body is never fully at rest. Some rest is better than none, but good quality rest is ideal. Keep this in mind as you start planning your sleep routine.
How to Avoid Sleep Deprivation
The best way to avoid sleep deprivation is to get on a consistent sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up around the same time each day, even on your days off. Create a wind-down routine for yourself, such as taking a bath or watching a calming television show. Avoid looking at your smartphone at least 30 minutes before bed, and avoid eating at least one hour before bed. This will give you the best chance at getting solid rest.
If you find yourself staying up all night with thoughts running through your head, you may consider talking to a therapist. This gives you an outlet for those thoughts so your mind is less preoccupied with them. Perspectives Counseling Centers has licensed therapists in multiple specialties, including anxiety treatment, depression treatment, grief counseling, marriage counseling, and more. Contact our office at (248) 244-8644 to schedule an appointment with a therapist near you.