Do you often wake up feeling grumpy and irritable? How you feel, think, work, learn and interact with other people can be impacted by the amount of sleep you’ve had the night before. This is because sleep is closely connected to your mood. Think about the last time you had a poor night’s sleep and how you felt and behaved the next day.
Maybe you snapped at your children for spilling their cereal. Or did you lose your cool in peak hour traffic? Perhaps you lost focus in a work meeting and almost dozed off? No matter the exact scenario, chances are you’ve experienced a poor night’s sleep and may have found yourself.
- Grumpy and irritable
- Overreacting over small inconveniences
- Lacking in concentration and energy
- Unexcited during celebratory moments
Why sleep can make you feel easily irritated
Ever had one of those days where everything just irks you? Every small inconvenience leads you to blow things out of proportion. And then someone asks if you’ve ‘woken up on the wrong side of the bed’. There’s a reason for this.
Dr. Sibasish Dey, Head of Medical Affairs, South Asia, ResMed, says, “Sleep plays a crucial role in regulating our mood and emotions. When we don’t get enough sleep, our brain’s ability to manage and control emotions becomes compromised. This can lead to increased irritability and grumpiness as we struggle to cope with everyday stressors and challenges. Sleep deprivation can also make us more prone to negative emotional reactions.”
How sleep impacts your concentration
You know you’re tired when you start struggling to think and put your thoughts into words. “When you are sleep-deprived, your brain’s ability to focus and process information is impaired. This is because sleep plays a vital role in regulation of emotion and cognitive functions such as memory consolidation and problem solving, particularly during the deeper stages of sleep.
Sleep deprivation interferes with the brain’s ability to transition through these stages as a result the sleep quality is not optimal. This results, in emotional dysregulation, mental fatigue, find it difficult to concentrate on tasks. This phenomenon can hinder your work-life productivity and overall performance,” adds Dr Dey.
Dr Dey shares some sleep tips to help boost your mood
- Mind your coffee and alcohol intake
Two factors that can influence your sleep and mood is your consumption of caffeine and alcohol. When consumed before bed, both caffeine can increase your sleep latency, which is the time you actually go into sleep. Caffeine, found in coffee and some teas, is known for its stimulating effects and while alcohol can initially act as a sedative, it disrupts the later stages of sleep. To sleep better and improve your mood, consider limiting your caffeine intake, especially in evening. Similarly, avoid excessive alcohol consumption, especially closer to bedtime. A moderate approach to these substances can significantly impact your sleep quality and hence mood regulation too.
- Incorporate regular exercise into your week
Engaging in regular physical activity is a proven way to enhance your sleep quality and mood. Exercise helps release endorphins, which are natural mood lifters and it can promote deeper, more restorative sleep. You should aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity each week.
- Practice relaxation techniques
High levels of stress and anxiety can wreak havoc on your sleep patterns and mood. Incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily routine can help you unwind and prepare your body for restful sleep. Techniques like deep breathing exercises, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation and mindfulness are thought to help reduce stress and anxiety, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up in a better mood.
- Minimise exposure to electronic gadgets
Eliminate electronic devices from your bedroom to minimise distractions, as the blue light emitted from screens can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle. It is advisable that people try to put electronics away for at least an hour before bedtime, since 40% of Indians reported in the ResMed Sleep Survey 2023 that using electronics right before bed has resulted in a decrease in the quality of their sleep.
- Create a comfortable sleeping environment
Your sleep environment plays a crucial role in the quality of your sleep and, subsequently, your mood. Ensure that your bedroom is conducive to sleep by keeping it cool, dark and quiet. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows that provide adequate support. By creating a cozy and serene sleep environment, you can optimise your chances of achieving restorative sleep and a happier mood.
Improving your sleep quality and enhancing your mood go hand in hand. By following these five evidence-based tips—controlling caffeine and alcohol intake, incorporating regular exercise, practicing relaxation techniques, minimise exposure to electronic devices and creating a comfortable sleep environment—you can help boost your well-being. Prioritising good sleep hygiene is a proactive step towards a happier, more productive life.