How to Boost Your Mental Health Through Good Sleep
By Guest Blogger, Cheryl Conklin
Cheryl Conklin is a freelance writer and tutor by trade and a blogger, adventurer, traveler, and creator of wellnesscentral.info in her free time. She created wellnesscentral.info because she believes one can’t have physical health without mental health and vice versa. She wanted a place to share her thoughts on wellness along with the great resources she finds on her own wellness journey, and so wellnesscentral.info was born.
Sleep is an essential component of our mental well-being. A lack of regular quality sleep has been shown to increase feelings of anxiety, even in people who do not suffer from an anxiety disorder. Meanwhile, poor sleep can lead to feelings of depression, but it is also a symptom of it. The relationship between sleep and mental health is complex, but there can be no doubt that focusing on improving our sleep habits can have wonderful consequences for our mental well-being. Here are a few ways to achieve this.
If anxiety tends to keep you up at night, you need to make it as easy as possible for you to feel relaxed at night. This means ensuring that your sleeping arrangements are as comfortable as soothing as possible. Look out for possible stressors in your bedroom. Is it untidy? Do you have reminders of upcoming work all over the place? Or, is it simply a bit stuffy?
Invest in high-quality bedding that feels nice against your skin, an essential oil diffuser with sleep-inducing aromatherapy oils, or even a new mattress. This guideby Mattress Advisor can help you determine whether it’s time to buy a new mattress and it can help you find the best mattress for your needs depending on how you like to sleep (on your back, stomach, or side, for example). There are also recommendations for special conditions, as well, such as hot sleepers or those who suffer from back pain.
Keep Phones Out
By now, you probably know that looking at your phone before bed is bad for you, but you may not be quite sure how. According to Business Insider, the science is that phones, tablets, and laptops emit blue light, which signals to your brain that it is still daytime. This leads to the brain producing melatonin, the “sleep hormone,” later than it would otherwise.
However, there is another element at play. A lot of us use our phones before bed to consume content that causes us stress, such as social mediaand news. By doing this, we are stressing ourselves out and making it harder to relax for sleep. This is why keeping your phone out of the bedroom could do wonders to boost both your sleep and mental health at the same time.
Set a Bedtime
For a lot of people, the problem isn’t so much quality of sleep but the quantity of it. If you tend to stay up until late watching TV, playing video games, chatting to friends, or even doing schoolwork, you aren’t just making yourself tired for the next day: you are actively harming your long-term mental health.
Adults need seven to eight hoursof sleep every night, and teenagers need eight to 10. Are you hitting these figures? If not, start setting yourself a bedtime corresponding to the time you need to get up and stick to it. Not only will the added sleep make you feel more alert and stress-free, but the sense of routine itself will be extremely beneficial to your mental well-being.
It is easy to underestimate the importance of sleep in our lives. Many people know that sleep is something they have to do, but they don’t truly understand just how crucial it is in ensuring our bodies and minds are working at their best. This is particularly relevant for people suffering from mental health disorders or at risk of developing one, as a lack of sleep can have a series of negative knock-on effects. It is difficult to feel balanced, happy, or relaxed when you are tired, and it is also harder to make other healthy decisions such as working out or eating well. A focus on healthy sleep, on the other hand, can unlock a new wave of energy that can allow you to improve your mental health from a place of stability and well-being.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit the Jordan Porco Foundation’s resources page.
The opinions expressed in this blog are personal, and not those of the Jordan Porco Foundation. The information in this blog post is provided for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as mental health advice from the individual author or the Jordan Porco Foundation. You should consult a mental health professional for advice regarding your individual situation.