The Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Mental Health

The link between sleep deprivation and mental health can have some negative impacts on a person’s day to day life. The body needs sleep just as much as it needs food. In a sense, sleep is the body’s fuel, like gas fuels a car. Having a restful night’s sleep, with the right amount of sleep, sets the tone for the entire day. 

How Important is Sleep?

Have you ever heard the saying “I woke up on the wrong side of the bed,” meaning someone is in a bad mood? This can be associated with lack of sleep. After a good night’s sleep, most people generally wake up feeling rested and ready to take on the day. On the contrary, when there is too little sleep, grumpiness and negativity take hold. Sleep deprivation and mental health can go hand in hand in this instance. When someone gets too little sleep, their mental state can be affected, thus affecting their mood and overall general mental well-being. In the same sense, mental health can also impact sleep. Understanding the bilateral correlation can help to provoke someone to seek professional help. 

Impacts of Sleep Deprivation on Mental Health

As previously stated, sleep is the body’s method of fueling itself for things to come. When that fuel is lacking, this is when you can see the correlation between sleep deprivation and mental health. Getting the right amount of restful sleep can help to prevent this disruption in a healthy mental state, and prevent some of the more prevalent conditions seen in those who suffer from lack of sleep and sleep deprivation.

Emotional Instability

There can be noticeable changes in mood and irritability when not enough sleep has been achieved. There is a portion of the brain that is responsible for the processing of emotions known as the amygdala, and it specifically uses the time someone is asleep to do this. When there is sleep deprivation, the amygdala goes into overdrive causing exacerbated emotional responses to different stimuli.

Hormone Changes

The hormones in the brain are responsible for communication between the brain and the body. When restful sleep is not achieved, these essential communications can be interrupted. This can cause miscommunication in the body. 


Lack of sleep can cause heightened stress levels. This is due to overproduction of cortisol which helps to regulate stress. When there is too much cortisol, it makes stress levels higher. It is very important to have this hormone’s levels just right in order to manage day-to-day stress. What’s more, stress can create the conditions for substance abuse as a means of self-medication.

Mental Illness

When you don’t get enough sleep it can lead to mental illnesses that can be disruptive and dangerous to a person. Depression and anxiety are just two conditions that can begin to manifest as a result of lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation and mental health both have negative impacts on a person’s day to day life and should be addressed with a professional to improve quality of life. 

Mental Health Conditions Associated With Sleep Deprivation

Just as sleep deprivation affects mental health, the relationship between mental health and sleep deprivation is the same. Those who suffer from mental health concerns tend to also suffer from lack of sleep. While most mental health concerns have some sort of an association with sleep deprivation, understanding the relationship between lack of sleep and three common mental health concerns can be beneficial. 

Anxiety Disorders

Sleep deprivation and mental health disorders like anxiety disorders have a strong relationship. Anxiety is a disorder in which fear and worry tend to affect day to day life. Things like trauma and panic disorders are different kinds of anxiety disorders. Those who suffer with these are generally in a constant state of arousal, and this contributes to insomnia making it difficult for them to reach a state in which they can sleep restfully. 


Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by feeling sad or hopeless. It is said that approximately 300 million people across the world suffer from depression, and about 75% of those people also exhibit symptoms of insomnia. Depression can essentially exacerbate the lack of sleep.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

This is a disorder that has characteristics of increased impulsiveness and a lowered attention span. Mostly diagnosed in children, ADHD can last well into the adult years. Those who suffer from ADHD tend to have problems falling asleep, staying asleep, and can exhibit extreme sleepiness during the day.

There is help to combat these mental health concerns and achieve restful sleep. Don’t brush off the lack of sleep as a part of life, because it can begin to interrupt day to day life and make quality of life suffer.

Help for Sleep Disorders and Mental Health in South Florida

If you struggle with sleep deprivation and it is causing mental health concerns there is hope for a better night’s sleep. At Ambrosia, our professionals can help you address the mental health concerns whether they are from sleep deprivation, are causing the lack of sleep, or if they exist without losing sleep. There is hope and healing available. Contact us today and we can help you along the journey to getting a restful night’s sleep

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