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Is your sleep cycle affecting your mood or mental health?

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Is your sleep cycle affecting your mood or mental health?

by Lynn Griffith, LCSW 


American's are known for being stressed up and sleep deprived.  Those who suffer from a psychiatric condition are more likely to be found yawning or feeling groggy throughout the day.  Chronic sleep disorder affect 50 to 80 percent of patients that receive psychiatric treatment compared with the 10-18 percent of adults within the general public.  This disorders are strongly associated with those who have diagnosis of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  (1)

Many clinicians will view insomnia or other sleep disorders as symptoms of the psychiatric disorder.  However, studies suggest that problems with sleep may in fact contribute to the development of some psychiatric diagnosis!  Research is now showing that treating the sleep disorder could also help alleviate mental health symptoms.  (1)

Neuroimaging and neurochemistry studies suggest that obtaining a good night's sleep helps create mental and emotional resilience and chronic sleep disruptions increase negative thinking and emotional vulnerability.  (1)

New study finds that poor quality sleep is associated with mood shifts in women with bipolar disorder

A new study reports that poor sleep is associated with negative mood in women diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  Those who suffer from bipolar disorder often experience unusual shifts in mood, energy and activity levels that can impact their ability to carry out daily tasks.  The condition is associated with manic high's and depressive lows.  (2)

Poor sleep is associated with both depressive and manic episodes but has also been found to exacerbate these episodes and even trigger mania.  (2)

The study takes into account that women and men sleep differently, therefore women may be at a higher risk for sleep disorder, especially during reproductive years.  Women and men experience bipolar disorder differently.  Women often experience more persistent and more depressive symptoms and have coexisting diagnosis such as anxiety, eating disorders or migraine headaches.  Men often experience shorter episodes and more time in between mood shifts.  (2)

The study examined 216 participants and examined the effect of sleep quality on mood outcome over a two year time period.  Mood outcome was measured by severity, frequency, and variability of depressive and manic symptoms.  (2)

For women, poor quality sleep predicted an increase of severity and frequency of depression and mania.  Among men, baseline depression and personality trait of neuroticism were the strongest predictors of mood outcome.  (2)

If you struggle with sleep, there are things that you can do to alter your lifestyle and improve your quality of sleep!  Sleep is a hormone dependent process, therefore anything we can do to impact healthy hormone balance can also impact the quality of sleep.  Hormone problems can cause sleep disturbance that can be fixed by addressing them not only at night but during the day.  Proper melatonin production depends on proper hormone functioning during waking hours. (3)

To optimize sleep, it's important to consider the food, supplements and exposure to the light or outdoors during the day.  (3)

Eat to sleep:

  • Eating healthy fats such as coconut oil, organic or grass-fed meat, eggs, and avocado provides the body with the necessary fats needed to produce sleep hormones. 

  • Consume high antioxidant foods to produce hormones and remove toxins that can impact good quality sleep. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and drink herbal or green teas!

  • Eat high quality proteins in the evening for dinner.  Your evening meal should include protein, vegetables and healthy fats!

Stop eating these foods to improve sleep:

  • Sugar and carbohydrates (especially in the evening hours) causes the blood sugar to spike and then crash.  This will cause difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep.  If you find that you crave carbohydrates in the evening, this could be a sign of underlying hormone problems.

  • Grains can cause physical stress on the body, especially if you have a grain intolerance.  This stress can alter your hormone cycle and affect quality sleep. 

  • Just say no to vegetable oils!  These are artificial fats that cause problems with the hormone cycle.  These fats give the body the wrong building blocks for hormone production and can cause hormone imbalances!

Supplements to help improve sleep:

  • Cod Liver Oil has fat soluble vitamin A, D, K and Omega-3's and is great for promoting hormone production. 

  • Coconut oil helps provide the body the necessary nutrients to make sleep hormones.

  • Magnesium has a big impact on sleep quality.  Taking a magnesium supplement before bed may help improve sleep.

  • Herbs such as chamomile and catnip can help you relax and balance stress hormones.

Find a healthy sleep cycle/ waking and bedtime routine:

  • Wake up and go to bed at the same time, even on the weekends to help regulate your hormone cycle.

  • Eat quality protein and health fats for a snack a few hours before bed time.

  • Avoid caffeine after lunch.

  • Reduce blue light exposure on computers and electronics.

  • Avoid artificial light as much as possible after the sun goes down.

  • Drink plenty of water during the day but stop drinking fluids two hours before bedtime.

  • Pray, meditate or stretch to reduce stress.

  • Get at least 30 minutes of sunlight during the day to boost serotonin levels and improve melatonin levels.

  • Massages and soothing baths can help relax and regulate stress hormones.

  • Going to bed before 10 p.m. helps improve the bodies ability to heal itself.

  • Sleep with white noise such as a fan or a white noise machine.

  • Use blackout curtains and remove artificial light from the bedroom.

Remember, every person is different.  What works for one person may not work for another.  Building healthy habits takes time, so stick with it to notice long-term differences.

Sources for this article include:

  1. http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/Sleep-and-mental-health

  2. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150630122408.htm

  3. http://wellnessmama.com/4936/improve-sleep-naturally/



 

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Sunday, 20 January 2019

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