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ValueOptions Highlights Connection Between Sleep and Mental Health for National Sleep Awareness Week 2014

NORFOLK, Va., March 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Rolling our clocks forward for daylight saving time on March 9 means more time in the sunshine in the coming months.  Losing a little sleep may not seem important—but for the nearly 70 million Americans who routinely experience ongoing sleep problems, they can encounter more serious health complications down the line. As March 2-9 is National Sleep Awareness Week 2014, ValueOptions®, Inc., a health improvement company specializing in mental and emotional wellbeing and recovery, is promoting the relationship between sleep and mental health.

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With 43 percent of Americans reporting they would feel better if they got more sleep, most of us have likely experienced the short-term mental effects of sleep loss. Whether it's an inability to concentrate at work, trouble remembering simple tasks, or irritability with our loved ones, the immediate consequences of not getting enough sleep can make it difficult to get through the day.

But poor sleeping habits can lead to far more serious consequences down the line, especially when it comes to our mental health: a study in the journal Sleep found that getting too little—or even too much—sleep can actually increase our risk of depression. 

"Quality rest and good mental health go hand in hand," said Dr. Gary Proctor, ValueOptions Medical Director. "Sleep issues often have an underlying cause, and sometimes, it can be a mental health condition like anxiety or depression. Moreover, mental health issues can actually be exacerbated by the very sleep problems they create. That's why it is absolutely critical to talk with your doctor about any issues you have with falling and staying asleep. A physician can help you pinpoint whether a mental health issue is causing sleep loss—or being intensified by it—and help you with treatment going forward."

For more information on sleep, visit the National Sleep Foundation website at www.sleepfoundation.org.

About ValueOptions®
ValueOptions is a health improvement company that serves more than 32 million individuals. On behalf of employers, health plans and government agencies, we manage innovative programs and solutions that directly address the challenges our health care system faces today. A national leader in the fields of mental and emotional wellbeing, recovery and resilience, employee assistance, and wellness, ValueOptions helps people make the difficult life changes needed to be healthier and more productive. With offices nationwide and a network of more than 130,000 provider locations, ValueOptions helps people take important steps in the right direction. We help them live their lives to the fullest potential. Visit www.valueoptions.com for more information.

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