We all need sleep. In any healthily functioning human, it is a normal part of our daily processes and routine. Since it is part of our daily routine and functioning, sleep is one of those factors that you really don’t think about until you realize that you’re not getting enough of it and want more of it. 

Sleep can be an often overlooked factor when it comes to medical issues, psychological problems, and your overall wellness. While it can be easy to focus on the more obvious (i.e., external) factors of why you are feeling a certain way, it is also important to look at our basic biological processes in order to determine if they are in line with and promote a normal range of functioning.

Sleep Requirements

We all have sleep requirements that our body necessitates in order to experience an optimal level of functioning. The number of hours of sleep that each person requires varies from person to person, and it changes over the course of one’s life. There can also be extenuating circumstances where a person learns to adapt to sleep changes, such as the arrival of a newborn baby, which requires the parents or guardians to adjust sleep needs accordingly in order to attend to and care for the baby. Nonetheless, pay attention to your particular sleep needs.

According to SleepFoundation.org (2020), the following are sleep requirement guidelines by age:

  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours each day
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours 
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
  • School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours 
  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours 
  • Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours 
  • Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours 

Sleep Debt

When a person is not obtaining the number of sleep hours their body and brain necessitates, this can lead to dysfunction on a physical and cognitive, as well as emotional level. As it pertains to psychological functioning, sleep debt can lead to an increase in irritability, forgetfulness, mental cloudiness, sadness or depression, anxiety, and an overall decrease in positive emotions. Sleep is one of the first areas we assess when a person is struggling with psychological difficulties, as solutions can sometimes be easy to implement, and the profound change can occur when sleep debts are addressed.

Solutions

When a person is experiencing psychological problems, it is important to first rule out any physical or biological precipitators. Sleep is one of those variables. While it may not be an easy fix for some, it is definitely a factor that needs to be considered and addressed. And if it is an easy fix for you, you may in fact find that a lot of your experienced mood disruption is resolved once you start obtaining the number of daily sleep hours your body requires. 

If this is not an easy fix for you, such as in the case of dealing with insomnia, it is important to first work with a trained sleep professional who can help you learn ways to move past the sleep issues. 

Once the sleep issues have resolved, take a closer look at what lingering psychological problems remain. At this point, you are in a better position to obtain psychological help from a mental health professional.

WE’RE HERE TO HELP

At Tampa Therapy, we are committed to providing a relaxing, healing, and non-judgmental environment to support you on your journey to mental and emotional growth and health, and into parenthood.  If you want things to be different, you have to change them. This means being open-minded, patient, committed, and understanding that therapy is a process and it takes time. We are not a massage therapy office, we are not your cleaning service. Monthly appointments simply are ineffective, especially at the beginning of therapy.

If you are ready to start making important changes in your life and believe that now is the time for you to make that commitment, give us a call or email us today to start the process of getting help. If you are not ready yet, that is completely okay. Just contact us when you are.

 

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