I am not shy about the fact that I love my sleep. When I am on vacations, you are as likely to find me maxing out my mattress hours as you would seeing me explore the new culture and food scene. (This is one of the things that freaks me out most about new motherhood: sleep deprivation. Stay tuned.)
A previous guest post on my site talked about how mindfulness meditation can help improve your quality of sleep. However, a good night’s rest can also be beneficial for your mental health and help improve mindfulness. So with that in mind, this article by Ralph Miller takes a look at some of the benefits of sleep on a your mindset.
Sleep helps people better regulate their emotions
According to an article on the Huffington Post, sleep deprivation is one reason why people have less control over their emotions. When people get very little rest, they are more likely to have emotional outbursts and are more susceptible to succumbing to pressure. This is the reason why people tend to snap more at other people or why some tend to experience crying fits when they don’t have enough sleep. In contrast, getting enough rest not only enables individuals to regulate their emotions, but also how they react to emotional triggers. This enables them to have better control over their actions, allowing them to take more measured reactions and decisions instead of simply reacting when faced with different stimuli.
Sleep plays an important role on memories
Harvard’s Healthy Sleep points out that sleeping helps people process and consolidate memory. Lack of rest can translate to the inability or the difficulty of entering slow-wave sleep (SWS), a deep, restorative sleep that is critical in helping people learn new things. As a result, sleep-deprived individuals often have difficulty absorbing information. Furthermore, lethargy due to lack of rest also increases the likelihood of having your mind drift away, making it more difficult to focus.
In contrast, getting enough sleep improves concentration. In other words, sleep also helps you make better sense of the world around you. It allows your brain to process the various stimuli that you encounter during the day and factors which ones deserve to be “banked” in your long-term memory and which ones can be discarded. Practitioners of mindfulness meditation, especially beginners, can attest to the difficulty of trying to focus given the number of distractions they face on a daily basis. With enough rest, it might be easier for them to perform the mindfulness exercises since they are able to focus better.
Sleep helps reduce stress
Stress can be very detrimental to a person’s physical and mental health. Too much exposure to it will not only compromise a person’s immune system and make them more susceptible to a variety of ailments; it can also affect their emotions, their mindset, and even their performance. In fact, one reason why people opt to try out mindfulness meditation is that they feel overwhelmed with stress and want to regain control of their lives. There are various studies that show how sleep, or the lack thereof, is indelibly linked with stress. The less time people get to rest, the more they are likely to feel anxious. Conversely, getting sufficient sleep will help prevent the feeling of being overwhelmed and stressed. This helps them have a calmer mindset. Furthermore, getting enough rest will help them remain calm, no matter what triggers they might face.
Sleep makes you less prone to depression and anxiety
Some studies have proved that there is a correlation between lack of sleep and depression. As mentioned earlier, feeling exhausted on a regular basis due to lack of rest can take its toll not just on your physical body, but also on your mental and emotional facilities as well, which can lead to depression in the long run. An article on Health IQ notes that mental health issues such as stress, depression, and anxiety can also worsen a person’s negative feelings. It said that meditation, which a study reported by ‘Frontiers in Neurology’ and subsequently published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health as having patterns similar to sleep, can help lower depressive symptoms by as much as 40 percent.
Sleep helps spur creativity
Mindfulness practitioners can attest to how the practice can help boost creativity. Interestingly enough, Health.com reported that creativity is also a benefit of getting a good night’s rest. The article says that the brain is able to reorganize and restructure memories and information, thereby allowing people to see things from a different perspective.