The Psychology of Sleep
I’m sure we all know that getting a proper night’s sleep is important for our health. How many times have you been worse for wear after a long night of tossing and turning, or considered booting a snoring partner out of bed for some peace and quiet? Getting your eight hours can leave you feeling much more on top of your game than a restless night can.
But what about our mental health? There’s a lot to be said about how sleep can affect our brain, emotions, mental wellbeing and even our memory! There are tons of studies into the mysterious psychology of sleep, which makes sense considering it’s something we’ll spend a third of our lives doing.
And what better time to dive into the science of sleep than national bed month? Each March the sleep council, a national body for sleep health, spends the month raising awareness about the importance of sleep and how helpful having a great bed frame and mattress can be for better sleep!
Sleep and Physical Health
As we said, we all know that sleep is important for bringing our A-game every day, whether you’re running marathons or running for the bus. One of the main theories about why we have to sleep is the restoration theory, which suggests that our bodies do most of their repairs and maintenance while we’re in a deep sleep.
There are heaps of studies into how sleep, or lack thereof, affects our body. Sleep deprivation can cause a whole host of ailments, including heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.
It turns out that sleeping your way to a slimmer frame isn’t so out of the realm of possibility as you’d think! Studies have shown that people who get more than seven hours of sleep report feeling less hungry than those who get less than seven hours of sleep. This is because a lack of sleep can decrease your levels of leptin, the chemical that makes you feel full.
Sleep deprivation can also disrupt your immune system and puts you at risk of catching colds and flu more often. So if you’re the type to catch a bug every winter, your sleep cycle could behind it. A severe lack of sleep can even lead to brain fog and exhaustion, which reduces your reaction time and can put you in danger of physical accidents.
Sleep and Mental Health
Speaking of brain fog, a lack of sleep can do more than just make you fuzzy and lethargic. We’ve all been a little bit short on patience after a bad night’s sleep, and a poor night’s rest can make us irritable, grumpy and can affect our behaviour. When in the short term, the effects of sleep deprivation are usually not very serious (especially if you’re naturally on the grumpy side) however, there can be serious repercussions for our mental health in the long run.
We can start to feel blue far more often than usual, and it’s no surprise that many mental health issues are made worse by a lack of sleep. It’s a bit of a catch 22 situation, as your mental health can make getting to sleep harder, yet not getting enough sleep can make your mental health worse! Insomnia can also create issues with higher stress levels.
It might seem a bit backwards, but not getting enough rest can cause hyperactivity and impulsivity, which can lead to stresses in our day to day lives. The best way to break out of the cycle of worse sleep and worse mental health, as a result, is to try and regulate your sleep cycle and find ways to get better rest.
Sleep and Memory
If you remember the start of this post, we mentioned that not getting enough sleep can make your memory worse, and if you don’t remember then perhaps you should get an early night! Just like your emotions, your memory can be affected by how good of a kip you get; and there are plenty of studies into how sleep affects your memory.
If you’ve had a late night or a very early start, your ability to take in information isn’t performing very well. We have trouble focusing on things, and a lack of energy means that our motivation to believe in the “every day’s a school day” motto isn’t strong. One of the main theories about why we actually need to sleep is that while our bodies are slacking off, our brain is doing overtime processing our days and forming memories!
Many psychologists think that a huge chunk of our memory processing actually happens while we’re asleep, so it’s no wonder that not getting your eight hours a night can lead to difficulty recalling memories at a later time. This is known as the brain plasticity theory, which doesn’t sound very pleasant but could explain why our ability to take in and recall information is better after a good snooze. So, it turns out that pulling an all-nighter before an exam is definitely not the way to go if you want to do well.
How to sleep better
So, now that you know all about how bad sleep deprivation is for your brain, we’re here to help you get your sleep schedule back on the right track with plenty of tips and tricks. Meditation for sleep can be a very zen way to process the stresses of the day and send you off to the land of nod without any extra baggage. Or, you can try putting away your electronics before bed! Our last blog post talks all about how blue light can harm your eyes and affect your sleep here.
Of course, what you’re sleeping on makes a huge difference in how healthy your sleep is, and here at Nimbus beds, we’re all about giving you the best mattress and bed frame to get you a brilliant rest and keep your mind in tip-top shape. Whether you need a double mattress with plenty of space (and a double bed frame to match of course) or if back problems are ruining your sleep and you fancy a firm mattress; we have plenty of options for everyone.
Our mattress sizes range from a compact single mattress to a luxurious king size mattress; we even have super king size on offer. No matter which mattress you decide to go for, we’re giving our customers a brilliant deal in honour of bed month! For the whole of March, we’re offering 30% off when you buy a bed and mattress, so you can indulge in an amazing nights sleep.