Many people are surprised to learn sleep habits are linked with mental health. However, when you don’t get enough sleep, or the quality of your sleep is poor, your mind suffers. Here is important information for improving your slumber and mental well-being at the same time.
Sleep and mental health. Let’s face it, in our on-the-go culture sleep is one of the first things many people cross off their list of priorities. However, there is substantial evidence sleep and mental health are linked. Insomnia is directly connected to depression, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Most people with chronic psychiatric illnesses report sleep problems, and some experts feel sleep deprivation can be both a cause and product of psychiatric disorders. Being sleep-deprived can reduce your ability to regulate emotions, leaving you more easily upset by your circumstances.
Lack of sleep can cause other issues as well such as age-associated brain deterioration. It seems if you’re sleep deprived your memory can be affected, also potentially increasing your risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia.
How much is necessary? The average adult requires between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. That can vary somewhat with age and genetics, but if you’re relying on caffeine to get through the day, napping, or feeling groggy, chances are you could use more or better quality sleep.
Evaluate your bed. One way to improve your slumber is with a better mattress. Taking a hard look at what you’re sleeping on as a key to better sleep. Many people put off replacing their bedding, but investing in a new mattress that supports your sleep style and body type is a critical investment in your mental health. It’s important to research and read reviews of the best mattresses available to fit your personal needs and sleeping positions.
Look at your bedroom. You should also consider other aspects of your sleep environment. Is the room dark enough? Even a little light can inhibit sleep. Do you leave a television on while trying to sleep? Electronics are distracting and disturbing. Is the air stale? A closed room can prevent deep slumber. Evaluate carefully if your bedroom is promoting or prohibiting good sleep.
Prepare yourself. Establishing a bedtime routine can help get a good night’s sleep. By doing the same things each evening before bed, you tell your mind and body sleep is coming. For example, taking a warm bath and spending time in meditation can be a boon. Try doing your routine at the same time each night, go to bed on a schedule and wake up on a schedule. Some experts recommend cutting out caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes as well, as they can all wreak havoc with your sleep pattern. Getting some exercise in the morning or afternoon can also help you improve your sleep habits, however, steer clear of later workouts since they can be too stimulating.
Track your data. Sometimes it’s difficult to narrow down the cause of sleep disturbances. If you’re bewildered as to why you can’t seem to feel rested, try keeping a sleep diary. Log the times you go to sleep and when you wake up, how much you sleep and when; whether you’re taking naps, and how you feel when you rise in the morning. If you can’t find relief, consider reaching out for help as you might have a sleep disorder.
Better sleep for better health. Improved sleep can be a boon to your mental wellness. Consider what could be inhibiting your sleep and make appropriate changes. Better sleep habits can mean a better quality of life.
Source: Brad Krause
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