Sleep and Mental Health: How it affects us and our tips for a good night's sleep
Now more than ever, it is important to look after our mental wellbeing. Whilst there are many factors that can affect our mental health, sleep is crucial to staying positive and healthy whilst our world is upside down.
According to the mental health charity, Mind, poor sleep can have numerous negative effects on our mental health. This includes depression and anxiety, but a lack of sleep is also known to heighten feelings of loneliness and isolation. Whilst it’s important to speak to a medical professional if you are concerned about issues relating to sleep or mental health, following good sleep hygiene practices can help with maintaining your mental well-being.
Keep reading to find out more about the connection between sleep and mental health, as well as some top tips for getting a great night's sleep.
How Sleep Affects Your Mental Health
According to the Mental Health Foundation, we sleep 90 minutes less each night compared to people in the 1920s. The increasingly busy lives we lead and the added extra stresses in today’s world means that we often deprive ourselves of good quality sleep, with many people functioning in a permanently sleep-deprived state. In fact, the NHS reports that nearly a third of the population suffers from the sleep disorder, insomnia.
So what effect is this lack of sleep having on our mental health? Well, much like we charge our mobile phones, when we sleep our brains recharge. When we have disrupted sleep our brains aren’t able to reset completely, which makes it harder to process the emotional challenges of the next day. Maintaining a regular sleep pattern helps the natural rhythm of the body to reset at night, in-turn improving brain function.
Research from the Sleep Foundation found that people who experience insomnia have greater levels of depression and anxiety compared to those who sleep normally. They are also 10 times more likely to have clinical depression and 17 times more likely to suffer from clinical anxiety. These astonishing figures highlight how sleep can affect mental health.
Keep reading for our top tips to help combat sleepless nights.
Top Tips To Improve Your Sleep Routine
Practising good sleep hygiene is the key to good sleep. If you’re struggling to sleep, try some of the following tips. You may also notice a difference with your wellbeing too!
- Establish a nighttime routine and sleeping pattern. Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day - even on weekends. This will help your body get into a regular rhythm.
- Limit the use of stimulants. Try to avoid caffeine, sugary drinks, alcohol and nicotine before bed, as these will have a negative impact on your sleep.
- Avoid going to bed until you’re truly tired and ready for sleep. Whilst it may be tempting to get comfortable and spend your evening in bed, it’s important that you associate your bedroom with sleep. Wait until you actually feel sleepy before hitting the hay.
- Use your bed for sleep only. Especially true for people who work from home - don’t be tempted to use your bed as your office. Create a separate place for working and keep your bedroom as a peaceful sanctuary.
- Make sure your bedroom is comfortable. Try to limit the amount of light and noise in your bedroom, and keep it at a temperature comfortable for you.
- Squeeze in some daily exercise. Even if it’s just light activity, such as walking or yoga, try to stay active for 20 minutes each day so you feel more tired as the evening rolls around. Remember, don’t exercise too close to bedtime, the endorphins may keep you awake!
- Avoid electronics in the bedroom. The blue light emitted from mobile phones, tablets, laptops and TVs can keep you awake. Leave your gadgets downstairs, in another room, or just in the bedside drawer, to help you to doze off to sleep naturally.
- Prepare the night before. Preparation is key. If you’re still waking up feeling tired, try taking Benenox before bed and make it a staple in your bedtime routine. You can get your hands on some at T&R Direct.
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