We all might have experienced days where we woke up after a good night’s sleep. Usually, such days are quite pleasing. On the other hand, we might end up feeling irritable and grumpy on days when we have woken up with incomplete sleep. Such days might even feel extra long and tiresome. This is because sleep is not only important for physical well-being but it is also crucial to our moods and overall mental health. This article explores the relationship between sleep and mental health.

How are Sleep And Mental Health Linked?

In today’s fast-paced world, the importance of a good night’s sleep is often ignored, as we see many people sacrificing their sleep for the sake of productivity. However, it is important to know that adequate sleep is a necessity for the optimal functioning of the body and the mind. The recommended amount of sleep for adults is typically 7-9 hours per night, and regularly compromising on good sleep can have various negative effects on mental health, such as:

  • Lack of Emotional Regulation

Sleep shares a complex relationship with emotions. A lack of sleep can make you more vulnerable to minor instances of stress. This is because lack of sleep usually heightens emotional reactivity, leading to increased irritability, mood swings, and a reduced ability to cope with stress. Research conducted in 2021 suggests that insufficient sleep can lead to significantly higher chances of experiencing frequent mental distress.

  • Effects on Cognitive Functioning

Our brains often use sleep time to rejuvenate and generate new pathways. A lack of sleep means that they do not get enough time to rest. This can often lead to difficulties in cognitive processes such as concentration and decision-making. Sometimes, you might also experience difficulties remembering information; certain tasks requiring focus may seem overwhelming as well. Thus, lack of sleep has a direct impact on productivity..

  • Impact on Mental Health Disorders

The relationship between sleep and mental health is evident in various mental health disorders. Conditions such as depression and anxiety often coexist with sleep disturbances. Sleep disturbances can make it hard for people to recover from these conditions; thus, regulating sleep is an essential part of the treatment of these disorders.

Sleep disturbances can also make people vulnerable to mental health issues in the long run.

How To Regulate Your Sleep?

The relationship between mental health is often cyclical. Sometimes mental health issues can lead to sleep disturbances, while at other times, sleep issues might make people vulnerable to mental health issues. Thus, addressing sleep issues requires a holistic approach. Here are a few ways to improve your sleep

  • Sometimes troublesome thoughts or persistent worries at night might result in sleep difficulties. Journaling before bed can help by allowing you to express these worries without judgement
  • Make a sleep schedule by consistently waking up and sleeping at the same time every day so that the body gets into a habit
  • Reduce substances such as alcohol and caffeine, as they are likely to increase alertness, making it difficult for you to fall asleep.
  • Our bodies often get habituated depending on the environment, so make an effort to keep your work and phone away from the bed so that the bed is only used for sleeping.
  • If lack of sleep is persistent, consider seeking professional help. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for insomnia (CBT_I)  is an evidence-based therapeutic approach designed to address insomnia and improve sleep patterns. It focuses on changing behaviours and thoughts that negatively impact sleep, providing people with tools to overcome sleep difficulties.


Sleep and mental health are deeply interconnected. A lack of sleep can directly influence one’s moods, concentration levels and decision-making  A lack of sleep can also influence mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. Thus, it is crucial to ensure that one gets around 7-9 hours of adequate sleep every day. One can overcome sleep issues by adopting a healthy sleep schedule or by seeking professional support if sleep issues are persistent.


  1. 8 secrets to a good night’s sleep. (2012, June 11). Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/8-secrets-to-a-good-nights-sleep
  2. Blackwelder, A. (2021). Effect of Inadequate Sleep on Frequent Mental Distress. Preventing Chronic Disease, 18. https://doi.org/10.5888/pcd18.200573
  3. How Sleep Affects Mental Health. (n.d.). Verywell Mind. Retrieved January 24, 2024, from https://www.verywellmind.com/how-sleep-affects-mental-health-4783067
  4. Scott, A. J., Webb, T. L., Martyn-St James, M., Rowse, G., & Weich, S. (2021). Improving sleep quality leads to better mental health: A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 60, 101556. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2021.101556
Dhruva Koranne

Dhruva Koranne has completed his Masters in Applied Psychology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, BALM. He has been practicing as a counsellor since 2020 and works to create a safe space for clients where they can open up. In addition to this, Dhruva loves researching and studying about upcoming theories in the field of Psychology. Connect with him on Linkedin