7 Ways Sleep Effects Your Mood

7 Ways Sleep Effects Your Mood

Ever wondered why after a night of sub-par sleep, no matter how long you’ve been in bed, you feel like a cloud of gloom has taken over your head? It turns out, the quality and not the quantity  of your slumber has a direct impact on how amazing or crappy you’re going to feel the next day. Let's dive into the not-so-mysterious world of how skimping on sleep can lead to feeling down in the dumps, and why catching quality Z's might just be your ticket to a brighter day.

  1. Your Body’s Clockwork

Imagine your body as a finely tuned symphony, with each instrument playing its part in the harmony. Sleep is the conductor of this symphony, dictating the rhythm and harmony of our body's internal clock, otherwise known as our circadian rhythms[i]. When we cut corners on sleep, it's like the conductor has left the building, leaving the orchestra to play out of sync. This disharmony more often than not, leads to feeling down in the dumps, or in more scientific terms, depressed and anxious.

  1. The Chemical Cocktail

Our brains are like bustling cities that contain thousands of chemical messengers called neurotransmitters, that zip around, influencing how we feel and see the world. Sleep is like the city mayor, ensuring that everything runs smoothly. Without enough sleep, the production of feel-good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine slows significantly, leading to emotional traffic jams and mood potholes[ii].

  1. The Stress Factory

The bodies premiere stress hormone, cortisol, is like that one coworker who always seems to be running on high gear, even when it's time to relax. Sleep keeps cortisol in check, but without enough rest, cortisol levels can skyrocket, turning our bodies into stress factories. This overproduction can make us feel anxious, irritable, and yes, depressed[iii].

  1. Emotional Rollercoaster Ride

Ever noticed how every little thing seems to get to you when you're tired? That's because sleep is essential for regulating our emotional responses. Without it, our brains are like amusement parks with no safety protocols, leading to wild rides of irritability and stress[iv].

  1. Inflammation Invasion

Sleep acts as a nighttime janitor, cleaning up the day's metabolic debris, including substances that cause and exacerbate inflammation. Skimp on sleep, and you're essentially locking the janitor out, allowing inflammation to run awry, overtaking your body and brain. This overload of inflammatory signals often contributes to feeling low[v].

  1. Building Block Shortages

Sleep isn't just downtime; it's when your brain goes into construction mode, building and rewiring brain cells. This is crucial for a region called the hippocampus, which plays a big role in mood regulation. Cut back on sleep, and you're cutting back on these essential building blocks, making it harder to maintain a balanced mood the next day[vi].

  1. Foggy Brain Syndrome

Last but not least, lack of sleep can wreak havoc on our cognitive functions—like memory, decision-making, and problem-solving. Feeling like there is a thick fog in your brain is part and parcel to lost sleep. Sleep deprivation can easily amplify depression by creating feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness[vii].

In conclusion, while we all skimp on sleep from time to time, making it a habit can send us on a detour through Gloom Town. So, the next time you're thinking of pulling an all-nighter or binge-watching that new series, remember your brain not only wants, but actually thrives on good old-fashioned regular shut-eye. It


[i] Foster, R. G., & Kreitzman, L. (2014). The rhythms of life: what your body clock means to you! Experimental Physiology, 99(4), 599-606.

[ii] Wulff, K., et al. (2012). Sleep and circadian rhythm disruption in schizophrenia. British Journal of Psychiatry, 200(4), 308-316.

[iii] Leproult, R., et al. (1997). Sleep loss results in an elevation of cortisol levels the next evening. Sleep, 20(10), 865-870.

[iv] Walker, M. P., & van der Helm, E. (2009). Overnight therapy? The role of sleep in emotional brain processing. Psychological Bulletin, 135(5), 731-748.

[v] Irwin, M. R., et al. (2006). Sleep deprivation and activation of morning levels of cellular and genomic markers of inflammation. Archives of Internal Medicine, 166(16), 1756-1762.

[vi] Mander, B. A., Winer, J. R., & Walker, M. P. (2017). Sleep and Human Aging. Neuron, 94(1), 19-36.

[vii] Goldstein, A. N., & Walker, M. P. (2014). The Role of Sleep in Emotional Brain Function. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 10, 679-708.

Older post Newer post