By: Alexia Cabreras , Practicum Student
Sleep plays a crucial role in our daily lives and mental health. Not only does rest allow us to function, it’s significant in our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Sleep disorders are much more common than we think. It can become much more likely to develop or experience symptoms associated with sleep disorders when battling a mental illness.
Understanding the importance of sleep disorders can drastically enhance behavioral and psychological concerns that underlie a more significant problem. Though there are many sleep disorders, I will discuss a few of the most common ones. On top of that, the most effective treatment approaches used in counseling to manage these concerns.
What Are The Most Common Sleep Disorders? How Do They Link to Mental Health Problems?
If you experience Insomnia, it may cause you to have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep. This condition can be short-term and long-term, but it doesn’t always stick around. It might sometimes come and go and can be unpredictable at times. Disorders like anxiety, depression, and PTSD, are some of the leading causes of Insomnia. The inability to sleep can result in negative thoughts and mental hyperarousal that likely will disturb your sleep. Insomnia can trigger typical anxiety symptoms to be worst, and depression can sometimes result in suicidal thoughts.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea:
On the other hand, Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when the muscles supporting the soft tissues in your throat (tongue and soft palate) relax. Sleep apnea ultimately results in your airway narrowing or closing, making it difficult to breathe for a few seconds. Sleep Apnea tends to result in increased anxiety, panic disorder, and depression. It is also recognized as a symptom if you struggle with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. There is no doubt that this sleep disorder has adverse effects on your well-being. Particularly when constantly feeling like you are choking in your sleep, triggering a negative response between your body and brain.
Parasomnia results in an unusual and undesirable physical experience that disrupts your ability to sleep. This sleep disorder often happens before or during sleep and when waking up. This disorder results in abnormal movements, talking, and emotional expressions. Parasomnias are categorized into two stages of sleep. Non-REM (non-rapid eye movement), the deepest stage of sleep, and REM sleep (rapid-eye movement), the minor deep part of our sleep. The most common examples occurring during Non-REM sleep are sleep terrors, sleepwalking, and even sleep paralysis. These are often presenting issues if you are struggling with PTSD or any other traumatic experience in your life.
Helpful Tips for Someone Battling Sleep Disorders as a Result of Their Mental Health or Vice Versa:
Whether your mental health is affecting your ability to sleep or vice versa, it’s essential to know how best to manage it. It is crucial when experiencing sleep disorders to develop a system to prepare your body for a consistent sleep schedule. It is also essential to remain compatible with your medications. The lack of consistency can take away from your ability to sleep and get the proper rest.
Attempt to avoid nicotine at all costs. Nicotine suppresses your sleep, results in increased insomnia, and increases your chances of developing sleep apnea in the future. Exercising is also an excellent way to improve your physical and mental health as well as your sleep. These are all tools that can help you reduce the severity of particular sleep disorders on top of your mental health concerns in a non-professional manner.
Therapy for Sleep Disorders
We’ve talked about some helpful tools one can implement on their own at home, but this isn’t always a solution. If you find that these aren’t helping, this is a sign to seek professional help. Luckily, theoretical approaches can treat mental health problems as well as sleep disorders. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most widely used form of therapy because therapists can use it for a range of reasons, such as sleep disorders. Sleep disorders are often coexisting symptoms of more significant mental health concerns. For some of you particularly struggling with insomnia, CBT-I is the way to go in order to get this taken care of.
This approach is a structured way to identify and replace any thoughts or behaviors that interfere with your ability to sleep. Your therapists can implement different techniques to meet your needs and desired goals based on what works best for you. Ultimately, sleep disorders do not receive much attention, but conquering them can enhance your well-being in various ways, especially when dealing with a mental health concern.
Begin Therapy and Improve Your Sleep and Mental Health in Katy, TX
If you are ready to improve your mental health and sleep, one of the therapists at The Center at Cinco Ranch can help! We provide mental health counseling, as well as other mental health services. To begin counseling in Katy, TX follow these three steps:
- Contact our office to set up an appointment or to learn more about emotionally focused therapy
- Meet with one of our compassionate therapists
- Find ways to thrive in your relationship!
Other Therapy Services We Offer
Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch, we offer counseling services for people of all ages in areas including counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, couples counseling, eating disorder treatment, men’s issues, women’s issues, anxiety treatment, depression therapy, trauma counseling, family therapy, and group counseling. Our therapists strive to post blogs regularly. We provide helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. To learn more about our therapists and our counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!