Three Effects of Poor Sleep on Your Mental Wellness


Sleep is an essential part of our daily lives. It’s not just important for getting you through a long day, it also plays a big role on your mental health and wellness.

Unfortunately, studies show that nearly 40 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders every year. Sleep deprivation can take a toll on your overall health. In fact, people with chronic sleep disorders are more likely to develop diabetes, obesity, and other health complications. As if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s more…

Poor sleep can greatly affect your mental health and wellness, too. Here’s how…

1. It can worsen existing mental health issues. Lack of sleep and chronic fatigue can exaggerate symptoms of depression and anxiety. You might experience symptoms like a racing heart, mood swings, and paranoia just to name a few. Furthermore, chronic sleep issues don’t just contribute to mental health issues, they can cause them, too.

2. Poor sleep can affect focus. This is especially true in children. Various sleep problems affect up to 50 percent of children with ADHD. For adults with ADHD, it can lead to restlessness and shorter sleep cycles. Sleep disorders can cause mood swings, outbursts, and decline of function in the classroom. Remember, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children 6 to 12 years of age get 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours of sleep and teens ages 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours a day.

3. Sleep deprivation affects your psychological state and mental health. This is why it’s so important to treat the underlying cause of a sleep disorder. The good news is that the most common treatment for common sleep disorders like insomnia is lifestyle change. The healthy combination of lifestyle changes, behavioral strategies, and therapy can go a long way in your overall health.

If you or a loved one is having trouble sleeping because of stress, depression, or anxious thoughts- give us a call.

Download our FREE Sleep Guide for some great tips that will get you on the road to a good night’s sleep


Trauma-Sensitive Yoga: A Journey To Healing

You’ve probably heard about the benefits of yoga. It’s a great way to strengthen your mind and body.   It’s a spiritual and physical discipline with Indian roots that date back centuries before our time. There’s a lot of mainstream buzz surrounding the healthy benefits of yoga. But, there’s a lesser known purpose you might not know about. 

Now, there’s growing evidence that aspects of yoga can be used to promote healing for individuals with trauma. As a trauma professional, this exciting and promising news is life changing.

Trauma is a generic and broad word. So, let’s get more specific about the type of trauma that’s often healed by trauma informed yoga. 

Research and professional experience indicates that Individuals with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD), developmental trauma, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may all benefit from trauma informed yoga.

The specific benefits include helping clients regain comfort in their bodies, counteract rumination—re-thinking the same thoughts repeatedly which can quickly increase anxiety and deepen depression and help improve self-regulation—one’s ability to manage emotions effectively.

We’ve all heard the stories of people displaying superhuman strength in the face of physical adversity; lifting a car off someone trapped below or treading water for hours or days until help arrives. This ability is because of the brain’s ability to respond immediately to threatening situations with a surge of stress hormones. We call it fight or flight mode, but few folks know about the brain’s third optional response mode of freeze. 

In describing the freeze response, Peter Levine uses the example of a cheetah stalking an impala.  When the cheetah catches its prey, the impala falls to the ground and plays dead to protect himself.  The numbness will lessen the pain or terror that would normally follow even if its killed. 

Fight, flight and freeze are all normal responses to extreme threat.  It becomes a problem when responses persist in the body after the danger has passed.  Bessel van der Kolk, a pioneer in the field of trauma, describes trauma as “hijacking the body.”  The body, along with the mind, remains in a state of high alert (fight or flight) or under-arousal (freeze). Trauma takes a heavy toll on the body—the body absorbs and anticipates trauma making the individual more likely to be hyper-alert, hyper-aroused and unable to calm themselves.

How does this relate to trauma informed yoga? 

Through trauma informed yoga, the body is given the opportunity to let go of the need to fight, flee or freeze. This is taught by learning to release tension, reduce fear, and tolerate body sensation. Trauma informed yoga helps you learn to calm your mind and calm your physical responses too, and, in turn, your emotions.

Furthermore, it can help you regain a feeling of safety inside your own body. At first glance, trauma informed yoga looks a lot like traditional yoga. But, once you begin the class, the differences become apparent. 

Trauma informed yoga does not focus on poses, or breathing. It’s about letting the body feel what it feels, without judgement and with a developing knowledge that it is safe in this place and safe within your own body.

I’m beginning a trauma informed yoga class on Thursday, October 5th from 10 to 11 am. 

There are two requirements to attend the class; you have a trauma history, and you are currently active in therapy addressing your trauma. If you fall into both of those categories, I’d love to have you join us on Friday mornings at 10 am. 

If you read this post and think, “this describes me but I’m not in therapy,” please give us a call! We have several trauma therapists available to meet with you individually. 

I look forward to you joining us as we work toward establishing a safe place in class and, most importantly, within your body.

Sharon Sheppard