Better Sleep Habits Can Mean Better Health for Your Mind
Did you know your mental health hinges on how well you slumber? Believe it or not, your mind’s wellness and your sleep habits go hand in hand. If you’re not getting a good night’s sleep, try these important tips to improve your mental health and quality of life.
How much is enough? A number of factors weigh into how much sleep you need in order to stay healthy. Your lifestyle, genetics and age can impact your requirements, but according to VeryWellFit, if you are an average, healthy adult, it’s safe to say you need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night. If you’re staying up late to catch the news and getting up early to catch a ride to work, chances are you’re not getting enough sleep. Some experts suggest most of us don’t recognize our sleep deprivation, but your body is probably sending you signals you could use more shuteye, such as grogginess during the day or an inability to perform well without caffeine.
Damage from too little sleep. Getting insufficient sleep is bad for your mental health. Newsweek cites studies showing we become moody without enough sleep, losing the ability to properly regulate our emotions and tending toward negative thought patterns. Living on too little sleep increases the risk for anxiety and depression, and can trigger more dramatic negative mood swings in those with mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder. Some experts feel lack of sleep negatively impacts our ability to think clearly, to drive safely, and to remember new information.
Smart strategies. In our busy, on-the-go world, sleep may sound like a luxury, but it’s clear your mind is healthier with better sleep. You can improve your slumber with a handful of smart strategies. Start by scheduling regular times for going to bed at night and getting up in the morning. Stick with your schedule, even on weekends, to ensure higher sleep quality. Also perform a routine each evening in preparation for falling asleep. It tells your mind and body sleep is coming and can help you fall asleep more quickly. One suggestion is to plan some soothing rituals, such as sipping an herbal tea and meditating.
Set your environment. A proper sleeping environment is a key to getting more shuteye. Keep your bedroom free of distractions, especially lights and electronic devices. Also consider your bed and whether you awaken sore or groggy in the mornings. Do you have a comfortable mattress suited for your body and sleep type? If you don’t, it’s time to invest in your mental health by buying a new mattress. Do your research and read reviews of the best mattresses on the market today. Whether you have back pain, sleep on your stomach or side, are a hot sleeper, or have another bedtime quirk, there’s a mattress that’s best suited for you.
Change up your day. What you do during the daytime can impact your ability to sleep at night. Healthline explains if we aren’t getting sufficient sunlight or exposure to a similar bright environment, the end result can be insomnia. Along those same lines, blue lighting from electronics, such as phones, televisions and computer screens late in the day can trigger an unhealthy pattern. Avoid using gadgets at night, and spend time in the sun during the day for the best results. Getting more exercise can help you sleep better, too, although you should avoid physical activity late in the day when your body needs to unwind. And even if you’re tired, taking a nap during the day can actually make it harder for you to sleep well at night.
Better sleep, better mind. Your mind’s health is linked with your sleep habits. Set a routine, create a sleep-friendly environment, and avoid activities that inhibit good sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep can help you be your best.
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