Most of us know by now that if we have a bad night’s sleep we wake up cranky. A poor sleep gives us a bad mood, but does it have the same effect the other way around? Is it true that you should never go to sleep on an argument? We take a look at how your bedtime temperament affects your slumber.
The science of your mood
The chemicals, or neurotransmitters, in our brains are responsible for mood changes. Neurotransmitters carry and deliver messages between brain cells in order to make us do, think or feel something. Among many other things, they are responsible for sleep regulation. During a certain mood, different chemicals will be elevated in our brains. This can sometimes hinder our chances of a good sleep. So, which mood is the worst for ruining your sleep?
You might be surprised to know that going to bed in a super happy state might not be ideal. Feeling content is fine but giddiness can cause your brain to work overtime meaning your body won’t feel ready for bed. When you are in a state of extreme happiness, your brain produces a series of chemicals called Orexin. These chemicals suppress sleep and promote wakefulness; not ideal for settling down!
Happiness should always be embraced but allow yourself to tone it down before you sleep. Try some sleep relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or writing in a journal to get your body ready for the land of nod.
We’ve probably all experienced nights spent tossing and turning due to stress or anxiety. That’s because the body produces a neurotransmitter called norepinephrine when we’re stressed which is the chemical most associated with the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response. It increases heart rate and blood pressure, making it difficult for the body to relax. Sleep experts at Tuck say:
‘Neurons in the locus coeruleus in the bottom of the brain stem respond to norepinephrine. When these neurons are stimulated, the cortical area of the brain becomes more active. Norepinephrine is therefore thought to be instrumental in causing people to wake up.’
If you have a stressful day and are struggling to sleep, try drinking some Valerian tea. It is recommended to drink it an hour before bed to improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety. It is also said to have mild sedative qualities to send you off to sleep naturally.
People who suffer with depression often have severe sleep trouble, whether it’s constantly feeling tired or developing insomnia. This means it’s difficult to get to sleep and remain in a comfortable sleep without waking. Depression isn’t as simple as just feeling sad; it can be caused by a chemical imbalance which affects the way a person feels, thinks and acts.
People with depression often have low levels of Serotonin, the chemical most associated with contentment and security. A lack of Serotonin can cause issues within the sleep/wake cycle, which is why insomnia is so prevalent in depression sufferers. Livestrong says, ‘Serotonin is synthesized by the pineal gland to make melatonin, the hormone that is directly related to healthy sleep’. Without melatonin, our bodies find it difficult to differentiate night and day, meaning we don’t automatically go into ‘sleep mode’ when it’s dark.
Treatment for depression is different for every person, but you can increase your melatonin levels if you think this could improve your chances of quality sleep. Have a supper of porridge with banana, Morello cherries and ginger which are all high in melatonin.
Never go to bed on an argument…
Or so the saying goes. It stems from the idea that going to bed feeling angry with someone can make those feelings of resentment worse. But this is one old wives’ tale that does actually have some truth behind it, especially in the long run.
A study published in Nature Communications suggested that negative memories are reorganized and stored differently during sleep. This means we find it more difficult to disassociate negative feelings when faced with the subject of the anger at a later date.
In the study, participants were asked to actively remember or consciously block out a distressing image associated with a neutral face. The images they avoided thinking about were 9% less likely to be remembered than the ones they tried hard to remember in a test taken 30 minutes after the exercise. However, the same test conducted after a good night’s sleep showed only a 3% difference between the two variables. This concluded that the disturbing imagery was cemented long term rather than short term.
So, if you have an argument with someone, try not to sleep on it. You may feel fine in the morning, but those negative emotions could come back to the surface at a later date!
Do you find you have a better sleep when you’re in a certain mood? Have your say in the comments!