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how sleep affect your mood

June 2024



  • The Science & Art Of A Good Night’s Sleep
  • Living With The Rhythem Of Nature
  • Sleep & Metabolism
  • Sleep & Your Mood

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Sleep and your mood

Humans spend around a third of their lives sleeping. Sleep is critical in maintaining cellular homeostasis, energy conservation, metabolic waste clearance, and immune function regulation. Basically, all the factors that keep you healthy and energized so you can function in the world and enjoy your life. 

How did you sleep last night?

I remember the times when my babies were, well, babies who woke up a couple of times a night, so I never got more than two hours of sleep straight. I found out that when I don’t sleep well at night, I can be a real bitch in the morning.

Lately, I discovered that I am not alone. People who don’t get enough sleep at night tend to be irritable, angry, and frustrated. 

mood disorder and sleep

Chronic sleep debt influences the neurons in your brain, increasing stress and the risk of mental diseases such as anxiety and depression. 



Sleep and cortisol

When you don’t sleep enough, your body releases cortisol to keep you alert. You feel hypervigilant. Hypervigilance, a state of increased alertness, can lead to:

  • Increase heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Knee jerk, aggressive or rude reaction.
  • Increased fear and anxiety.
  • Being worried all the time and circulatory thoughts.

Research found that people with sleep debt tend to interpret body language and facial expressions as threatening more than people who get a good night’s sleep, leading to overaction and aggressive behavior. 

Sleep deprivation makes your amygdala, the part of your brain that processes emotions, hyperactive, shortcutting the frontal cortex. Your ability to read situations, control impulses, and alert your brain to whether something is “real” is compromised. Severe sleep deprivation can lead to hallucinations. 


Sleep and serotonin

Serotonin is your “feel good” hormone. When serotonin is at normal levels, you feel more focused, emotionally stable, happier, and calmer. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression. Sleep debt can compromise serotonin synthesis or dysregulate the neurons that release serotonin. The overall effect of sleep debt on serotonin synthesis and release can manifest in erratic mood swings. 


Sleep and dophamine

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, motivation, and mood. Sleep deprivation can lead to reduced production and altered release of dopamine. Disruption in dopamine production and release can lead to depression and anxiety. Lower dopamine levels might dampen your spark, making it harder to get motivated. Dopamine is also critical for executive function. Lower dopamine means lower focus, judgment, and impulse control. 

In some cases, sleep and mood disorders might create a vicious cycle where stress, depression, and anxiety lead to sleep disturbances exacerbating the mood disorder.




Practical tips for reducing sleep debts:

  • Commit to lying in a dark, quiet room for eight to nine hours daily
  • To help regulate your circadian cycle, try maintaining a regular sleep schedule.
  • Your bedroom should be your sleep sanctuary. Dedicate the room to sleeping only, and use heavy curtains to keep the room dark. 
  • Avoid stimulants like caffeine in the afternoon and evening. 
  • Add foods containing tryptophan to your diet. Tryptophan is a building block of serotonin that, in turn, builds melatonin. Eating foods such as turkey, chicken, eggs, cheese, nuts, seeds, tofu, and fish will ensure an adequate supply of the raw materials needed for melatonin production. 
  • Sunlight exposure first thing in the morning can help regulate your circadian cycle, leading to a good night’s sleep.

If sleep is a challenge, I invite you to join the Stress Gut & The Immune System program, where I share my sleep cheatsheet, including hacks for a good night’s sleep and herbal sleep support.
.If you are curious to learn more or need help designing a lifestyle that will optimize your well-being, book a 20-minute free consultation with me. 


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Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.
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