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6. Mental Health & Sleep

Sleeping and mental health are intricately linked. Getting too little sleep can aggravate certain mental illnesses, while a condition can also directly lead to sleep deprivation. It’s not hard to see how a vicious cycle can suddenly take hold and aggravate a condition further.

Each individual case is different, but there are common themes across conditions as a whole.

Let’s now analyse the relationship between a number of different mental health problems and getting a good night’s rest and relaxation.

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

Owing to the nature of this condition, it’s perhaps little surprise people with ADHD have a challenging relationship with sleep. With mental and physical restlessness a primary symptom, relaxing enough to drift into a peaceful sleep can be incredibly difficult.

As New Life Outlook point out, there are four main issues which ADHD or ADD sufferers face:

Falling asleep

Around 75% of adults with the conditions cite the inability to “shut off their minds” as a detrimental factor in sleeping. They go on to say that 70% of adults with ADHD take longer than one hour trying to fall asleep.


Easily woken and incredibly active during their slumber, people with ADHD can be so fitful that bed partners might be forced to sleep elsewhere in extreme cases. This activeness often results in people being as tired when they wake up as they were the previous evening.

Waking up

And waking up is far from easy either. When they do eventually drift off, triggering their body back awake can take longer than average. Common reports from close family members state ADHD workers are easily irritable and often very difficult to wake from their slumber.

Intrusive asleep

On a slightly more psychological note, sleep can also be intrusive. Results have found increased levels of theta waves are produced by people with ADD. These interrupt and intrude on the relaxing alpha and beta waves which help a person to sleep soundly.

Having ADHD can put a strain on your sleep patterns, but it’s important not to let your spirits drop. There are ways of battling a lack of sleep. Some of the best include:

This advice will apply to most conditions. There are always steps you can take to make things that little bit easier.

Bipolar Disorder

As many as 2% of people in the UK had bipolar disorder. This condition causes extreme shifts in moods, with someone swapping between periods of depression and joy without what many would see as a “definitive reason”. Unsurprisingly, this can again lead to issues when it comes getting enough rest of an evening.

Everyday Health’s Dr. Phillip Gehrman has cited a direct correlation between a lack of sleep and worsened bipolar symptoms.

“Even between mood cycles, people with bipolar disorder may have sleep problems, and those sleep problems, if they persist, increase the risk of a relapse.”

The health professionals go on to say that some medication actually has a negative impact on sleep, causing a person to become restless. It’s advised you speak with your doctor to discuss any possible side effects of this.

Interestingly, people with bipolar are just as likely to suffer from hypersomnia as they are insomnia. This is a condition which causes someone to sleep for longer than they naturally need to. Despite the additional levels of sleep, a person will not feel refreshed once they wake up.


Anxiety is a condition which will naturally cause your mind to race. Symptoms which make you feel nervous or uneasy will directly lead to a more active brain. In turn, this makes it far more challenging to fall asleep.

As with any condition, the less sleep you have, the more of an impact it’ll have on your negative symptoms. If you’re somebody with anxiety who needs help falling asleep, make sure to keep these points in mind:

Anxiety is a very real condition, which can have a major impact on your life. If you start to notice any symptoms, be sure to talk to someone about it.


Depression is the most commonly known form of mental health disorder. It has a major effect on how easy people find it to sleep, with as many as 90% of people with the condition having some form of sleep-related issue. Shockingly, the same reports suggests insomnia is a genuine concern for at least two thirds of depression sufferers.

Sometimes, problems can stretch beyond mental to physical issues. Sleep Apnea is a disorder which sees people temporarily stop breathing while they’re asleep. This lowers their blood oxygen level and leads to a major disruption of sleep.

Advice for this condition falls into the same bracket as most other mental health problems. Create a routine, avoid screens before bed and give reading something a try. That said, Health Line provide three alternative ways to prevent depression from having a major impact on your sleep patterns.

While mental health and sleeping problems walk hand-in-hand, there are ways to combat both. Follow the advice we’ve laid out here and you should be able to battle the effects of a condition. It will always be a struggle, but sleep deprivation can be at least somewhat mitigated by adopting some of the approaches we’ve outlined.