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The Most Important Thing for Mental Health

When considering the most important elements for mental health, a really basic one is often overlooked.  It's not stress reduction, a healthy diet, exercise, healthy relationships, or taking your medications.  What is it?

When I worked at the state hospital, patients would be brought in by the police where were extremely ill.  They had been out in the streets for weeks, not eating, not sleeping, completely filthy and totally psychotic.  What would we do for them first?

Put them to sleep.  Completely dirty and completely hungry - the doctor would administer a tranquilizer and put them to sleep.  They might sleep for days once they were knocked out.  Their bodies were exhausted.  Why did we do this first?

Because sleep is the most important thing for restoring mental health.  We can go longer without food and water than without sleep.  We tend to focus on diet and exercise for health and ignore this very important issue.  Most of do not get enough sleep.  Just how important is sleep?

People have attempted to go without sleep in order to break world records.  After just a few days, they begin to hallucinate, their speech becomes unintelligible and their five senses become impaired.  Sleep deprivation is such a serious matter that the Guinness Book of Records has eliminated its sleep deprivation category due to the health risks involved. 

Cleanliness might be next to Godliness, but slumber is next to sanity. 

For more information, please see my articles on Sleep and Insomnia.


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