Updated: 2021, Jul 28

Why Sleep Should Be Prioritized For Good Mental Health

This article will cover some of the positive effects that sleep can have on your mental health specifically.

If you’re cutting the amount of sleep you get each night in favor of other activities, it’s time to stop now. Sleep is essential for your overall health; making sure you get an adequate amount can make a profound difference in how you feel each day.

Why Sleep Should Be Prioritized For Good Mental Health
Sleeping helps us to recover from mental as well as physical exertion. Image/Shutterstock

1. It Affects Your Mood

Even if you aren’t sacrificing sleep on a regular basis, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced the negative effects of not getting a good night’s sleep, especially on your mood.

Not getting adequate rest can make you irritable and have a short-fuse, and it can cause you to be more prone to feeling stressed and anxious.

In fact, people who struggle with sleep difficulties often have chronic mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. These types of conditions can also create sleep disorders as well, and their coexistence can make things significantly worse for people who struggle with both kinds of concerns.

Chronic disorders aside, most people can see a noticeable improvement in their mood as soon as the next day by getting back on track and catching up on sleep. However, long-term emotional and sleep troubles will typically require better sleep practices and working closely with a therapist, which you can learn about below:


2. It Influences Productivity

Like your mood, people who don’t get enough sleep frequently report not feeling as productive and it can increase the risk of burnout.

For example, getting out of bed and moving can feel like a chore, and you might have to drag your feet to get to work and get things done if you don’t get enough sleep. Overall, you may feel less motivated and it can be difficult to focus on important tasks.

Unfortunately, obligations like work and school can also contribute to sleep problems, and according to the Sleep Foundation, people typically get almost an hour and a half of less sleep on work nights compared to ones where they don’t need to go to work.

Work stress and sleep habits are something that needs to be worked on concurrently because similar to the connection between sleep and mood disorders, there is a strong correlation between work schedules, performance, and the amount of sleep someone gets.


*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.

3. It Acts On Your Cognitive Abilities

Although it can be related to work performance and overall productivity, getting enough sleep is important for various brain functions that you use just while going about your day, regardless of work or other responsibilities.

In addition to things like reduced concentration and alertness, getting less sleep can mean having:

  • Delayed reaction times
  • Impaired judgement & decision-making
  • Weakened memory
  • Difficulty learning
  • Disorganization

In some cases, having impared cognition, such as the examples mentioned above, can be quite dangerous in numerous ways.

For instance, if you’re sleep-deprived and operating a vehicle, you put yourself and others at risk of danger, since driver fatigue is a very common cause of crashes each year and it’s often compared to drunk driving.


Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night is, on average, the recommended amount of sleep adults should get each night, so if you find yourself regularly getting only 5 or 6, you’re putting yourself at risk for getting sleep debt. Getting that extra couple of hours can make a huge difference in your mental health, and hopefully, this article has shown how sleep can have a profound effect on it. However, this can take effort on your part to focus on and improve, but with commitment, you can quickly see the benefits of extra sleep.


Lauren Ann, MS

Lauren has dual graduate degrees in Clinical Psychotherapy and Nutrition, espousing an integrative approach to optimizing overall healt

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