My Insomnia Is Killing My Mind
Updated: Jan 15
Disclaimer: This blog post is proudly sponsored by Mindvalley, but all opinions are my own. Mindvalley is the largest online personal growth platform in the world. Choose from hundreds of personal growth programs and transformative content taught by brilliant minds, with results that stick. Mindvalley's mission is to create personal transformation that raises human consciousness. As a Mindvalley affiliate, we may receive compensation, if you purchase products or services through the links provided, at no extra cost to you. This helps support the running of the blog.
The brain is an organ that houses endless mysteries and hidden somewhere in the cornucopia that is this funbox we call our brain is housed a tiny little nut, this nut, a peanut actually, called the hypothalamus, controls our beautiful, wonderful, essential, anti-crankiness, feel-good-mornings inducing sleep.
But what is sleep really? Sleep is one of the processes that has aroused the greatest curiosity since ancient times, where it was understood as a bridge between the earthly and the divine.
We spend between a third and a quarter of our existence sleeping. WHAT! Yeah, I was pretty shocked too when I found out. As humans the one, well two, universal truths are that we all sleep, and we will all die (how macabre) oh, and how chocolate is the greatest thing ever invented, this is also a universal truth, THE universal truth, but moving on. Sleep, sleep is a universal need to survive (and a pleasure for most, I included).
However, many people suffer from sleep problems, a shocking 30% of the world's population if you want to put a number on it. Most of those fall in one of two categories either they simply find the act of falling asleep difficult, their mind wanders, they just can't seem to drift off, and the second group of people are able to pass this difficulty and do fall asleep, but they then wake up many times throughout the night, giving them a really bad quality of sleep.
This article addresses the consequences of insomnia on mental health, and some tips to act on it.
How Insomnia Affects Your Mental Health
The relationship between insomnia and mental health is a duality: when one of them is affected this has a knock-on effect on the other, regardless of which is considered cause and which effect because sometimes it's insomnia that triggers mental health issues and at others vice versa.
Insomnia, although seen as trivial at times, is in fact quite serious, and can in some cases involve an objective risk to life. That is why the treatment of this problem iso s important, and it should never be considered a minor ailment
How Insomnia Affects Your Life?
One of the common consequences of sleep problems is fluctuating mood, and there is evidence that insomnia and difficulties regulating emotion both have common physiological bases. In this way, poor sleep can be associated with depressive and anxious symptoms, as well as with notable irritability.
At the cognitive level, it has been shown that people with insomnia tend to interpret the adverse events they face in a more negative way and that they also have difficulties in trying to extract the positive aspects of daily experiences.
Memory problems, forgetfulness, the inability to focus and keep track of things in your mind, these are recurring complaints among those who have trouble sleeping. Most commonly, short term memory is particularly impaired, limiting the ability to remember events from the recent past.
In turn, an erosion in working memory linked to insomnia has been described (a function that allows the temporary storage of information for use during a specific task). In the latter case, it is very common that difficulties arise to understand a written/spoken text of a certain length or to successfully carry out activities that require storing the information in the background, like remembering a phone number just before you write it down.
Along with memory, attention is the process that is most commonly compromised when restful sleep is compromised. Which severely impairs our ability to focus, having more frequent and longer lapses of attention and taking longer to respond to stimuli than those of you who do not suffer from Insomnia.
Increased risk of Alzheimer's
The relationship between insomnia and Alzheimer's has been known since the 90s. Studies have concluded that one function of sleep is to “clean” debris from neuronal activity.
Throughout the day, our brains produce proteins in the central nervous system that are damaging to our brains, the build-up of these proteins are in effect“emptied out” every time we sleep, protecting our brains from excess or accumulation of these proteins that would otherwise damage the integrity of our brains, a precursor to Alzheimer's in later life.
How To Sleep Smarter!
Regular sleep-wake cycle. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day been shown to regulate our circadian rhythm (our internal body clock) This means the weekends too! I know it's tempting to stay up till 2 AM, Netflix playing in the background, asking us if we're still watching - here it is important to try not to go to bed much later than during the week and to get up early as well. sleeping in is another way to wreck out body clock and throw our circadian rhythm out of whack, which will come back to bite us in the ass when we do finally try to catch those elusive Zzz's
Regular Mealtimes. It is also important to eat the three main meals of the day at the same time every day, especially dinner, which should not be finished later than two hours before going to bed. This is important as one of the ways our body regulates our circadian rhythm is through food, the later we eat, the more difficult it will be for us to fall asleep.
Avoid activities in bed or bedroom other than sleeping. Our mind has to learn to associate the bed with rest. Therefore, you should avoid watching television, playing with your mobile or tablet or talking on the phone from bed.
Repeat the same routine every night at bedtime. These routines help us prepare mentally and physically for sleep. It's the little things we do to get to bed, applying our night serum, or washing off the day from our faces, putting on our silky pj's, brushing our teeth, all that jazz.
This regularity will tell our brains it's time for bed, and they will start to power down, allowing us to hopefully fall asleep as soon as our heavy heads hit our pillows.
Why don't you share your bedtime routines, and what has helped you in getting your sleep-cycle to be a little less rebellious? Answers on a postcard (or in the comments will be fine)
This blog post is proudly sponsored by Mindvalley, but all opinions are my own. Mindvalley is the largest online personal growth platform in the world. Choose from hundreds of personal growth programs and transformative content taught by brilliant minds, with results that stick. Mindvalley's mission is to create personal transformation that raises human consciousness. As a Mindvalley affiliate, we may receive compensation, if you purchase products or services through the links provided, at no extra cost to you. This helps support the running of the blog.