You know how lack of sleep makes you feel. Anxious, irritable, grumpy. Hardly a joy to be around!

Most people will readily acknowledge that a lack of sleep impacts their emotions and also their ability to make sound decisions.

This is especially important in safety critical situations, where the decisions people make can prevent harm or injury. But this isn’t the only reason we need to monitor the duration and quality of the sleep we get.

Three things to keep in mind:

  1. If we find ourselves on the slippery road to exhaustion when we are not sleeping properly, it can contribute to mental health difficulties.
  2. Disturbed sleep could in fact provide an early warning of mental health issues, such as depression or other conditions.
  3. Even in severe cases, the remedy may be to get better quality sleep.

For example, researchers at Oxford University have found that delusional paranoia can be reduced by 50 per cent if sleep is stabilised using cognitive behavioural therapy.