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The Importance of Sleeping for Mental Health

April 9, 2024 Michaela Jarvis

"I'll sleep when I'm dead" is a line my former self fully embraced before learning more about sleeping for mental health. If others didn't need sleep, I thought I didn't either. That thought process took a nasty toll on my mental health. Sleeping is essential for mental health and shouldn't be put on the back burner.

How Sleeping for Mental Health Faded for Me

I had gotten used to seeing media normalizing, even glamorizing, not sleeping for mental health. How often does a hot-shot TV character, maybe a doctor, lawyer, or detective, mention that they had "spent all night working" with a coffee in their hand? In my head, successful people didn't waste time sleeping.

Beyond this incorrect sentiment about success, I just frankly didn't like sleep in general. The idea of losing eight to nine hours of a day is quite frankly terrifying. In a world where I'm torn between "I need to be productive" and "I want to disengage," sleep didn't fit into the picture.

After calculating the time between work, the commute, making meals, and running errands, I wanted some time for myself (at least that's what I told myself). The late nights scrolling or watching TV was "me time." And it was, technically, but it wasn't time well spent. Those hours didn't make me feel more rested or myself; they were a way to avoid the inevitable.

The truth is that I was scared of my thoughts, and I resented having to wake up and face another full day (a day that would have been much more enjoyable had I gotten enough sleep.)

Why Sleeping for Mental Health Is Important

Even though I didn't think (or want to think) that my sleep schedule mattered, it did. After days or weeks of skimping on sleep, my mental state noticeably worsened. I became more sensitive, irritable, and prone to depressive episodes and anxious thoughts. My memory declined, focusing was harder, and I was more likely to give in to unhealthy habits (such as excessive phone scrolling).

It's not uncommon to hear about the benefits of eight hours of sleep on the body, but the brain needs sleep, too—it craves it.

The mind needs rest, especially frantic ones caught up in worries like mine. My days felt like a mental marathon, and no wonder sleep deprivation made it worse. I didn't give my mind enough time to reset and restore itself. I had been ignoring one of the biggest basics of recovery: sleeping for mental health.

Sleeping for Mental Health Education

To start caring about sleeping for mental health, I had to accept how serious it was. I firmly believe it is not talked about enough. Sure, it's no hidden secret that sleep is good for you, but I didn't understand how bad it was for you not to sleep. 

Sleep education was the first step I had to take to start prioritizing sleep, and here's how I learned: 

Sleep is a huge part of the human experience. It's not glamorous, fun, or exciting, but it is necessary. To keep a mind stable and sharp, sleep is essential. I regret the years I didn't let my mind rest. I no longer feel I am losing hours of my day sleeping; instead, I am now able to fully enjoy the moments I am awake because I did sleep for my mental health.

APA Reference
Jarvis, M. (2024, April 9). The Importance of Sleeping for Mental Health, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 28 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2024/4/the-importance-of-sleeping-for-mental-health



Author: Michaela Jarvis

Michaela Jarvis is continuously on her road to self-improvement while managing bipolar disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and the life challenges that come with being in your 20s. Find Michaela on Instagram, LinkedIn, and her website.

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