At this point, I’m sure the phrase “get enough sleep” has been engraved like a chisel to marble inside of your brain. Honestly, I’m sure most of the things I will discuss in this blog are things that have been talked about before again and again; I’m aware that much of the time I’m likely going to be part of the preaching choir. I want to discuss it anyway though, and look at it from an angle in which people may not normally see it from: pride.
On a regular basis, we underestimate the ability of a good night’s sleep to really pick ourselves up from the ground and take on life from an optimistic, clearer perspective. On the flipside, we also underestimate the ability of a poor night’s sleep to really ruin the day to follow. It’s obvious that when we sleep badly, we are less energetic, more lethargic, dazed, and sometimes even a bit irritable.
The most devastating effect that a lack of sleep can generate is the toll it takes on our mental health. Our entire outlook on life can be altered negatively by a few less hours of sleep. It’s “waking up on the wrong side of the bed” in action. When we feel crummy from sleep, however, it’s hard for us to admit sometimes that our bad mood comes from that lack of sleep; this is where pride comes in. More often than not, we are too prideful to say that our unhappiness could stem from something as simple as tossing and turning the night before. So, naturally, our brain decides to complicate things. It creates issues from nothing, or it exacerbates the issues you may already be facing.
For example, if you’re a college student with a lot of homework on a regular basis and you haven’t been sleeping well, you may attribute your irritability and lack of motivation to the academic obligations you have on your plate. Don’t get me wrong, the stress from those things can affect mental health and I don’t want to invalidate anyone that is going through a tough time because of schoolwork! I graduated recently, the struggle’s a fresh hurdle I just got over. A good night of sleep however can make that mountain of schoolwork far less scary; it’s a mountain you can strategize climbing, as opposed to groggily panicking and aimlessly trying to get by. Sleep gives you the clarity to say “this is hard, and yes it’s stressful, but I know where to start.”
In the end, my point here is that before you overcomplicate things in your life and make them into bigger problems than they may actually be, check your pride, then check your sleep. If the idea that something as simple as sleep may be the culprit of some of your unhappy days makes you cringe and deny it, then it’s all the more reason to take on an active role in fixing it.
Sweet dreams, fam.
DISCLAIMER: I never want to imply that the things I write are as credible as professional help. A lot of what I write about is based on personal research and experience, but I am no psychologist and I should not be a replacement for one. I am not writing to fix mental illnesses! The things I discuss can help with day-to-day moods and health, but if you suspect you may have a real mental illness please discuss your concerns with a professional.