World Sleep Day: How lack of sleep can affect your mood — and what to do about it

A good night's sleep is important for overall health! On World Sleep Day, know the connection between sleep and mood.
Woman showing concept of sleep
Sleep and mood are connected. Image courtesy: Freepik
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 14 Mar 2024, 14:43 pm IST
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When you are sleep-deprived, your immune system may take a hit, you may find it difficult to remember things or stay focussed. That is because sleep plays a major role in your physical and mental health. If you don’t get a good night’s sleep, expect your mood to get hampered. It has been proved that while sleep can affect your mood, even mood has an influence on the quality of your sleep. On World Sleep Day, which falls on March 15, know the link between sleep and mood.

How does lack of sleep affect mood?

According to a 2019 study published in JMIR Mental Health, there is a strong effect of sleep quality on a person’s mood next day. In fact, there is a connection between sleep deprivation and mood changes. Increased anger is one aspect of it.. People who get an adequate amount of sleep every night have fewer emotional outbursts such as anger. They also show lesser aggressive behaviour, according to a 2018 study published in Cureus.

A woman in red night suit sitting on a bed
Lack of sleep can make you more irritable. Image courtesy: Freepik

Lack of sleep messes with our emotions. When we don’t get enough shut-eye, we become grumpier and more irritable. Our brains struggle to handle emotions properly without enough sleep, says neurologist Dr Prashant Makhija. Being sleep-deprived tends to mess with the part of our brains that deals with emotions, making us more likely to react negatively to things.

How many hours of sleep is needed on a daily basis?

For most people, getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night helps keep them in a good mood, says the expert. It is like charging the phone overnight to have enough power for the day ahead.

How does bad mood cause sleep problems?

When we feel contemplative and depressed about things, it can be tough to switch off mentally at night. Negative emotions such as stress or sadness, can keep our minds racing when we should be relaxing. That is why bad mood can lead to sleep problems, leaving us feeling tired and cranky the next day.

How to improve sleep quality for better mood?

One way to sleep better is to find healthy ways to cope with stress and unwind before bedtime. Here are some more tips:

1. Mindful meditation

Sit quietly for a few minutes, focus on your breath, and let go of any tension or worries. Mindful meditation helps calm your mind and relax your body, preparing you for a restful night’s sleep, says Dr Makhija.

2. Limit screen time

Avoid looking at screens like smartphones, tablets, or computers before sleeping. The blue light emitted by these electronic devices can interfere with your body’s natural sleep cycle by suppressing the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep.

3. Create a relaxing environment

Make your bedroom peaceful by dimming the lights and playing calming music. Creating a relaxing atmosphere signals to your brain that it is time to unwind and get ready for sleep.

4. Journalling

Write down your thoughts, feelings, or any worries you may have in a journal before bed. Putting your thoughts on diary can help clear your mind and alleviate stress, making it easier to drift off to sleep.

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A woman in white sleeping
Journalling can help to clear your mind and improve sleep quality. Image courtesy: Freepik

5. Physical activity

Engage in light exercise, such as walking or gentle stretching, earlier in the day to promote better sleep at night. Regular physical activity can help reduce stress and tension, making it easier to relax and fall asleep at night.

6. Consume less caffeine and alcohol

Avoid consuming caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, or energy drinks in the evening, as they can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Similarly, limit alcohol consumption before bed, as it can disrupt your sleep cycle and lead to restless nights, says the expert.

7. Practice gratitude

Take a moment before bed to reflect on the positive aspects of your day, and express gratitude for them. Focusing on the good things in your life can help shift your mindset away from worries and promote a sense of peace and contentment, making it easier to sleep.

8. Stick to a sleep schedule

Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even if it is a holiday. Being consistent will help in regulating your body’s internal clock, and make it easier to fall asleep.

9. Limit daytime naps

While a short nap can be rejuvenating, avoid napping for too long or too late in the day. Limiting daytime naps can help ensure that you are tired enough to fall asleep easily at night.

10. Watch your diet

Avoid heavy or spicy meals as well as large amounts of liquids close to bedtime. Eating lighter meals can help prevent discomfort and digestive issues that may interfere with sleep.

Also, spend time outdoors during the day to expose yourself to natural sunlight. Sunlight helps regulate your body’s internal clock and promotes the production of serotonin, a hormone that contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness, helping to improve your mood and regulate your sleep-wake cycle.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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