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Can A Good Night’s Sleep Improve Mental Health?

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Russell Foster explains the missing link between a good night's sleep and improved mental health.

Neuroscientist and Professor of the University of Oxford Russell Foster has found a link between mental health issues and the disruption of sleep cycles. It is known conditions like depression and Parkinson's are linked to poor sleep, but Foster found that people with schizophrenia regardless of treatment found that their sleep patterns were completely disrupted.

A catalyst for early intervention
Foster explains that the link is present as the “sleep/wake cycle draws on all the brain’s neurotransmitters and multiple structures.” If there is a problem with one of these pathways, it is going to have an affect on your sleep. Foster and his colleagues are examining disrupted sleep to see if it is a marker for potential mental health problems, this could lead the way in early intervention.

Stabilising sleep patterns

Researchers at Oxford have used behavioural therapy to stabilise sleep for patients with schizophrenia. They found a 50% decrease in delusional paranoia. Foster is currently in the process of determining if sleep can be used to prevent mental illness, and if stabilising a sleep pattern can alter the brain’s predisposition to a mental illness.

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