Your mood and sleep: The science behind your mood
Getting the right quality and quantity of sleep is essential to our wellbeing. When we do not get enough sleep, we feel tired, find it difficult to concentrate and are often grumpy! Most of us would agree that a lack of sleep affects our mood, but did you know that our mood can affect how well we sleep?
Interfered and deficient sleep can result in bouts of depression or anxiety, just as a negative mood can make getting a good night’s sleep very difficult. Studies have shown that when people are sleep deprived, negative moods such as irritability, anger and sadness are heightened. Sleeplessness is often a symptom of mood disorders such as depression.
One’s mood can also impact their quality of sleep. Anxiety and stress increase agitation and increase the body’s arousal and keep you awake and alert.
The neurotransmitters in our brains are accountable for our mood and its changes. These neurotransmitters transfer and provide messages between our brain cells to make us act, think or feel in certain ways. They are also responsible for sleep regulation. Certain moods elevate different chemicals in our brains, which can obstruct our ability of getting quality sleep.
Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance which impacts the way a person feels, thinks or behaves. People who suffer depression often have sleep difficulties due to low levels of serotonin. A lack of serotonin can cause problems within the sleep/wake cycle and reduce the production of melatonin, which is responsible for inducing ‘sleep mode’.
When we feel stressed the body produces a neurotransmitter known as norepinephrine, which is the chemical associated with the body’s fight or flight response. This results in elevated heart rate and blood pressure making it difficult for the body to relax and fall asleep. Therefore, it is important to establish a calming evening routine before going to bed to reduce your stress and achieve a calm state of mind before hitting your head on the pillow.
Although happiness is encouraged and ideal for us all, when we are in a state of extreme excitement and happiness our brains produce a series of chemicals known as Orexin. These chemicals suppress sleep and promote wakefulness which is not ideal for when trying to fall asleep. A feeling of content is most the ideal mood when trying to get to sleep at night.
We all require adequate sleep for our physical and mental wellbeing. In the long term, if you do not get enough quality sleep your moods can be adversely affected. There are many things we can do to try to improve our sleep quality, but if you have severe difficulties achieving quality sleep, we recommend speaking to your local pharmacist.