Sleepless Past 1 AM? Discover how it impacts your Mental Health

We've all been there: one more episode turns into an entire season, and before you know it, the clock strikes past midnight. The blue lights on the screen keep you trapped and your bed seems like a distant and boring option. But have you ever wondered what effect this nighttime habit has on your mental health? Spoiler alert: it's not as exciting as your favorite series.

What happens after midnight

It's easy to get carried away by the exciting plot of a series, especially when each episode ends on a hook for our attention. However, regularly staying up late can have very negative effects on our mental health.

An observational study from Imperial College London in the United Kingdom noted that going to bed after 1AM puts you at higher risk of developing mental health problems, whether you are a morning person or a night person.

Lack of sleep can not only affect your ability to concentrate, your memory and your mood, but it also lays the foundation for dysregulated behaviors and psychiatric disorders. The brain needs rest to process the day's information and prepare for the next day's challenges, and that only happens when we give it enough time to rest.

Going to sleep after midnight particularly affects REM, which refers to the phase of sleep known as Rapid Eye Movement, which occurs during the second half of the night. If we do not sleep enough hours we do not go through this important phase of sleep:

"REM sleep has a strong link to mood regulation (i.e., less REM, worse mood), and changes in REM sleep are considered a risk factor for many neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression, [ general anxiety disorder] and post-traumatic stress disorder," explained Dr Wong, head of the UK study.

How Lack of Sleep Affects Your Mental Health

  1. Concentration and Memory Problems : Sleeping less than necessary directly affects the brain's ability to concentrate and retain information. Lack of sleep affects brain regions and networks associated with attention.
  2. Mood Swings : Sleep deprivation is linked to an increase in irritability and anxiety. You are more likely to feel emotionally unstable and have difficulty managing stress.
  3. Risk of Mental Disorders : Chronic lack of sleep can increase the risk of developing mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. When we do not go through all the phases of sleep, our brain does not fulfill its “self-cleaning” function.

Recommendations to Recover Healthy Sleep Habits

If you find yourself stuck in a cycle of sleepless nights, here are some recommendations to help you regain a healthy sleep pattern:

  1. Establish a Sleep Routine : Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your biological clock.
  2. Create a Conducive Environment for Sleep : Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, dark, and cool place. Consider investing in a comfortable mattress and pillows.
  3. Limit Screen Use Before Bed : The blue light emitted by phones, tablets, and televisions can interfere with the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Try to avoid screens at least an hour before bed.
  4. Relax Before Bed : Establish a relaxing routine before bed, such as reading a book, taking a hot bath, or practicing relaxation techniques like meditation.
  5. Consider the Use of CBD : CBD extract can be a natural alternative to improve sleep quality. CBD oil has shown promise in reducing anxiety and improving sleep. Consult with a health professional to make sure it is an appropriate option for you.

Alternatives to Marathon Nights

Instead of watching a series late into the night, here are some alternatives to enjoy your time in a relaxing and sleep-friendly way:

  • Read a Good Book : Immerse yourself in an exciting story without the blue light of screens.
  • Listen to Relaxing Music or Podcasts : Find a calming playlist or interesting podcast to relax before bed.
  • Practice Meditation or Gentle Yoga : These activities can help you relax and prepare your body and mind for a restful sleep.

While it's tempting to stay up late to watch "just one more episode," it's important to remember that your mental health and overall well-being depend on a good night's rest. By making small changes to your routine and exploring alternatives like CBD , you can improve the quality of your sleep and, consequently, your mental health. Sweet dreams and happy rests!

Sources consulted:

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