- difficulty falling asleep
- difficlulty staying asleep
- early morning awakenings
- unrefreshing sleep
- non-restorative sleep
- poor sleep quality
Now, when you review this list and consider the relationship of these symptoms to mental health conditions, we want you to think about just one thing:
- Sleep Fragmentation
Sleep fragmentation is the missing link that is often disregarded when trying to understand mental health or mood disturbances. Sleep fragmentation is overlooked, because mental health providers are too focused on the idea that the mental conditionis causing the sleep problem.
In the field of sleep medicine, we look at these sleep symptoms, and the first thing we wonder about is whether or not they are caused by sleep fragmentation. If your brain is constantly being interrupted from sleeping all night long--the technical definition of sleep fragmentation--then we expect a lot of bad things to arise from this disruption.
The most obvious sign of sleep fragmentation would be daytime fatigue and sleepiness, but think about it, this is your brain being robbed of its rest. How could such a process not also affect your mood and mental health?
Isn't obvious that if your brain is not restored every night as it should be with a restful night of slumber that you would be irritable, nervous, easily frustrated, moody, blue or dejected the next day?
Your mood and your mental health are intricately linked to how well your brain rests each night. If you always keep this in mind, you will do your mental health and your mood a great service, because you will realize just how important your sleep is to your health and well-being.