It is quite normal that you don’t always sleep so well. Especially in exceptional situations such as the current corona crisis, sleep is often neglected. However, those who always have trouble sleeping will be completely taken over by the topic of sleep after a while. Not only their health, but also their soul suffers from the lack of sleep.
Sleep disorders make you ill
Chronic sleep disorders pose a risk to health, mind and soul. In the evening, thoughts go round and round incessantly, you lie awake for a long time, rolling around uneasily. If you do fall asleep at some point, the pleasure is of poor quality and very short. Often, you wake up long before the alarm clock rings. Sleep duration and sleep quality suffer enormously. This does not leave the person concerned unaffected.
Not only are mood and motivation at rock bottom, but also the performance and ability to concentrate. Your health also suffers. The risk of developing cancer, dementia or diabetes increases immensely. The effects on the organism should not be underestimated either. Long-term sleep problems have an impact on the metabolism, immune system, brain, heart and circulatory system, and also on the connective tissue, muscles and mind.
In sleep medicine, a comparison is often drawn between a night of drinking and little sleep. Less than six hours of sleep, and that several nights in a row, have the same consequences and effects as a blood alcohol level of 1. Power of judgment, speed of reaction and memory performance are limited. The consequences of not getting enough sleep shouldn’t be underestimated – not only for the body, but also for the mind.
The reason why sleep is important for the soul
Sleep disorders can make you mentally ill. In addition to mood swings and lack of motivation, sleep problems can also promote the risk of depression and addiction in the long term. According to studies, people who sleep poorly tend to drink alcohol or take sedatives.
Sleep disorders are typical symptoms of depression. However, there is scientific evidence that sleep disorders increase the risk of a depressive disorder many times over. During the day you feel tired and impaired, you do not know what to do about the nightly problems. You withdraw from social life, start brooding and unconsciously get used to bad sleeping habits, for example an irregular sleep-wake rhythm.
Thoughts are going round and round in circles
Those affected think about nothing but sleep. They don’t do anything anymore, as it could upset them and consequently they wouldn’t be able to sleep anymore. However, doctors and sleep researchers agree that this is counterproductive for sleep. You actually achieve the opposite, because you get upset and this in turn leads to increased tension. Like digestion, sleep is regulated autonomously. It cannot be forced willingly.
What to do if thoughts go round and round in your head?
A healthy sleep hygiene can help to prevent your thoughts going round and round in circles. Regularity is important. You should get used to a rhythm and then stick to this rhythm.
Those who suffer from chronic sleep disorders often lack this rhythm. Sometimes they go to bed early, sometimes late. The regularity is missing. If you suffer from chronic sleep problems, you should avoid going to bed too early as this can also lead to lying in bed awake for a long time. Or vice versa, if you want to catch up on the lack of sleep during the day, this reduces the sleep pressure in the evening and thus increases the likelihood that you will lie awake the next night. Regular times for getting up and going to bed are therefore essential. One can also learn to let go of one’s thoughts. Relaxation techniques might help you, e.g. special breathing exercises or mindfulness practice.
TIP: No matter what time it is at night, you should avoid looking at the alarm clock. You only increase the sleep pressure on yourself.