Does Lack Of Sleep Affect Our Mental And Physical Health? 

Americans tend to live life on a treadmill. We work long hours, eat badly, stress a lot, and lose sleep. We lay in bed at night worrying about our jobs, money, our kids, our elderly parents, and all the woes of the world. Many of us don’t get a sufficient number of hours of sleep and even when we do sleep, we toss and turn and never get to that really deep sleep that offers much-needed rest to the mind, body, and spirit.

So, we walk around sleep-deprived, dragging through our days until we are overwhelmed and close to collapsing from exhaustion. Soon, this catches up with us and our health is affected. We aren’t strong enough to battle even the common cold. We have issues with our digestive systems, have added aches and pains, and moreover, we add to our mental issues with stress and anxiety.

Much of this can be avoided if we can find ways to get enough deep, restful sleep.

What are the telltale signs that you need more sleep?

You Have Low or No Sex Drive

When you are exhausted, the concept of having sex can be overwhelming. The trade-off of endorphins doesn’t feel worth the effort. This also affects your mental state. For men, this might manifest as erectile dysfunction which then adds to the anxiety men face. For women, it may have to do with hormones which affect men as well but typically more so with women. Menopause can make sleep more difficult with debilitating night sweats, never an aphrodisiac!

The ironic thing is that good sexual relations can help body and spirit and can relax the participants which then leads to better sleep.

You Crash

You’re sitting at your desk at work after lunch and suddenly you feel like you can’t keep your head up. Has that ever happened to you? You might be driving home or out to a social event and find your head nodding. You jerk awake realizing you could crash the car. Maybe you simply get through the door in the evening and faceplant on the couch or bed.

All of these experiences are from lack of proper sleep. If anything like this is happening to you, you need better sleep. You also may want to talk to a licensed mental health counselor to try to discover what is keeping you awake at night.

You Crave Salt and Sugar

When we don’t get enough sleep, we find ourselves craving foods that are bad for us. Sugar is the big one. When you get enough sleep, your body will produce an adequate amount of Leptin, so you know when you are full. When we don’t sleep, we constantly feel hungry, and it is not likely we will be dying for a celery or carrot stick. We want chocolate, ice cream, and cookies, or maybe greasy fast food and pizza. We eat across the day, and we have no energy or ambition to exercise so we create a never-ending cycle of poor sleep, poor eating, low energy, and… more sleepless nights.

If you find yourself up at 2 am eating a cold slice of pizza or pulling ice cream from the freezer you may want to seek some help about your sleeping issues. This behavior will lead to weight gain and more anxiety about your health and your body image.

You are Often Nervous and Anxious

This is a “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” issue. Are you anxious because you haven’t been getting good sleep or are you not sleeping because you are anxious? The truth is… both! Many people suffer from some form of mental illness, be it depression, anxiety, or could even be bipolar disorder.

If you are feeling anxious, aren’t sleeping, are having cravings for junk food, or are simply passing out from exhaustion, you may be suffering from some form of anxiety and depression. Seek the advice of a licensed therapist.

If you would like to speak to licensed providers about your sleep issues, reach out to us at Advantage Mental Health Center –

Picture Credit: Crello