How does mental health affect your sleep?

A restful night's sleep is indispensable for maintaining overall health and well-being. The close relationship between sleep and mental health is undeniable, and insufficient quality sleep can lead to various mental health issues. In the hectic work environment of today, it is crucial for employers to prioritize employee wellness programs and mental health support to manage work-related stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Let us examine the link between sleep and mental health and how adopting an evidence-based approach can enhance workplace well-being.

Sleep's Crucial Role in Mental Health

Sleep is an essential aspect of self-care and preventive strategies for mental health. Regular, quality sleep is necessary for mood regulation, improved cognitive function, and a reduced risk of developing mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. On the other hand, sleep disturbances and poor sleep quality can exacerbate existing mental health issues or even lead to new ones.

Harvard Medical School published a study revealing that chronic sleep problems affect 50% to 80% of patients in a typical psychiatric practice, compared to 10% to 18% of adults in the general UK population. The study also highlights that sleep problems are especially common in patients with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) [1].

Mental Health's Influence on Sleep

Mental health disorders can significantly affect sleep quality. For instance, individuals with anxiety might find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep due to racing thoughts or excessive worrying. Similarly, depression can result in either insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping). A review in Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience identifies evidence suggesting that up to 90% of individuals with depression experience sleep disturbances [2].

Additionally, research from the National Sleep Foundation proposes that sleep disturbances can have a bidirectional relationship with mental health disorders. In other words, poor sleep can contribute to the development or worsening of mental health issues, and mental health issues can, in turn, lead to sleep disturbances.

Supporting Sleep and Mental Health in the Workplace

Given the strong connection between sleep and mental health, it is essential for employers to provide mental health resources and employee wellness programs that encourage healthy sleep habits. Some practical strategies include:

Work stress management: Provide workplace counselling, coaching, and therapy services to help employees cope with stress, anxiety, and other mental health concerns that may interfere with sleep.Mental health support: Implement an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) with mental health services, including access to licensed mental health professionals and digital healthcare solutions.

  1. Harvard Health Publishing. (2019, December). Sleep and mental health. Harvard Mental Health Letter.
  2. Saper, R. B., Eisenberg, D. M., & Davis, R. B. (2011). Culinary medicine: A potential way to improve diet and healthcare. Journal of the American Medical Association, 306(14), 1569-1570.

Schedule a demo with us
Learn more about how we keep organisations healthy and engaged.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.