Sleep is a fundamental human need. It helps us rest and rejuvenate and process the day’s events. But what happens when we experience sleep deprivation? The consequences of being sleep deprived can be severe, especially for our mental health. This blog post will explore the impact of sleep deprivation on mental health and provide some tips for improving your child’s sleep habits.

The connection between sleep deprivation and mental health

Sleep isn’t just about physical rest. It plays a critical role in maintaining our mental health too. During sleep, our brain works to consolidate memories, process emotions, and restore its energy for the next day. When we’re consistently sleep deprived, these processes are disrupted which can lead to various mental health issues.

Research has shown that people who are chronically sleep-deprived are at a higher risk of developing conditions like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Moreover, existing mental health conditions can also worsen due to lack of sleep.

Effects of sleep deprivation on behaviour and mood

One of the most immediate effects of being sleep deprived is a change in mood. Lack of sleep can make us feel more irritable, anxious or depressed. We may also have difficulty concentrating or making decisions.

These mood changes aren’t just inconvenient; they can have serious implications for our relationships and professional lives. If you’re constantly feeling irritable or anxious because you’re not getting enough sleep, it’s likely to affect your interactions with others as well as your performance at work or school.

Effects of sleep deprivation on the brain

Beyond mood changes, being consistently sleep deprived can also affect our cognitive functioning. This includes things like memory recall, decision-making ability, creativity and problem-solving skills.

When we’re tired, our brain struggles to function at its best. We might find it harder to remember things or make decisions quickly. Over time, this could lead to decreased productivity at work or school and could even increase the risk of accidents.

As busy mums we already have so much on our plates. Doing it all sleep deprived is just another layer of stress that we don’t need. Life may always be busy but sleep deprivation is one thing you can take off your plate!

Breaking the sleep deprivation cycle: improving your sleep

Improving your quality of sleep is an essential step towards better mental health. But if your little one isn’t sleeping, you’re not sleeping. So what can you do about it?

1) Maintain a regular schedule: Keep an eye on wake windows and set a regular bedtime and wake up time, especially if your little one is now on 2 naps or less.

2) Create a restful environment: Keep bedrooms dark, quiet and cool.

3) Limit exposure to screens before bedtime: The blue light emitted by phones and computers can interfere with your body’s natural circadian rhythms and overstimulate the brain.

4) Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help you all fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper sleep.

5) Seek professional help if needed: If you’ve tried these strategies but your little one is still keeping the household awake at night, reach out for help and advice. Poor sleep isn’t something you should just put up with.

Being consistently sleep deprived doesn’t just leave us feeling tired; it has serious implications for our mental health too. Prioritising good quality, restful sleep is not just beneficial but essential for maintaining good mental health in the long run for both you and your little one.

If you and your little one are both currently experiencing sleep deprivation and you’re concerned about the affect it’s having on your mental health, then please do reach out for help. I do not believe that children and parents need to be sleep deprived. I use gentle techniques to help your little one sleep better and in turn give you the rest you need and deserve.

Get in touch today to book your free discovery call and say goodbye to sleep deprivation.