What’s This “Sleep” You’re Referring To? (Part 1)

The importance of sleep has been preached time and time again, especially to those dealing with mental illness, and if you’re anything like me, you can’t “adult” without it. (Though sometimes I genuinely don’t want to be an adult, but that’s a whole different conversation. Ha!)

Growing up as a gymnast, and participating in additional extracurricular activities my entire life, I’ve always been diligent in attempting to get the recommended hours of sleep at night. Throughout college, I made sure I was on top of my time management. If I did procrastinate, as many college students do, I woke up early instead of staying up until 2 am to finish an assignment. Getting a good night’s sleep is so vital that it is one of my biggest priorities. I even set a bedtime. This doesn’t mean that I don’t occasionally stay up past it; I just need a really good reason to. I also can’t have anything major going on the next day because I’m well aware that I’m most likely going to be moody, have brain fog, and overall not function at 100%.

Why is sleep so damn important?

I’ll leave this quote here from the National Institute of Health for your reading pleasure. Also, clicking on that link will bring you to a WAY better article about sleep than I’ll ever be able to write.

“Studies also show that sleep deficiency alters activity in some parts of the brain. If you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior.”

Basically, this what happens to me in a nutshell. If you’re dealing with any mental health issues, sleep deprivation is bad news. I find that I cannot function optimally without at least 7 hours. Why do you think I get so angry at 3 am Neighbors?! (Read my blog post if you want to know all about my 3 am Neighbors.) Because I want to be fancy and shit, here’s a chart published by the National Sleep Foundation listing their recommendation of how much sleep is needed per your age.

 

sleep-duration-recommendations

 

As an adult, you should be aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep. It’s a major piece to the puzzle for anyone living with mental illness, and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND making sleep one of your biggest priorities on your list of things to make your life better. It can literally make a (corny pun alert) night and day difference, especially if you’re dealing with mood swings.

“But Bec, It’s not my fault! I can’t sleep!” People of my life, I mucho understand very much so! There are so many nights I can’t sleep either. Stay tuned for my next blog post where I’ll give you some tips and ideas I use to maximize the zzz zzz zzz’s!

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