This week (18 – 24 May) is Mental Health Awareness Week, as our sleep patterns change, your mental health can be impacted. But you can improve your sleep to help your mental health.
Mental Health Awareness Week has been run by the Mental Health Foundation since 2001, and has been encouraging important conversations about mental health for the last 19 years.
This year’s theme is kindness, but we’re taking some time to look at the importance of sleep on your mental health. After all, your sleep patterns may have changed during lockdown.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and recent events may have had an impact on yours. One thing we can do to protect both our physical and mental health is getting a good night’s sleep.
Our mental health is closely linked to how much sleep we get: if we’re not sleeping enough, it can lead to exhaustion which can cause a huge drain on mental health.
On the other hand, sleeping too much can be a symptom of poor mental health, so sleep is key when it comes to mental health issues.
Getting the correct amount of sleeps allows us to recover from a busy day and get the rest we need for the day ahead. It’s essential to ensure we can take part in daily life.
But, with life being increasingly busy and the rise of social media, we’re now sleeping for an average of 90 minutes less that we did 100 years ago.
A GOOD NIGHT’S REST
Because of everything that’s been going on in the world, it may have impacted on your sleep. So, here are some top tips to ensure you can get the rest you need.
Make sure your bedroom is an environment that you associate with sleep. If you spend hours working from home at your desk in your bedroom, have lots of screens, or workout in your room, this may not be helping your sleeping pattern.
Why not move your desk to a different room of the house, leave screens in the living room, or move your weights or yoga mat into the corridor, to ensure your room is as zen as it can be.
It won’t be a surprise that looking at screens before bed is not good for your sleeping pattern. The blue light emitted from screens restricts melatonin production – the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle.
Late night social media checks can leave you tossing and turning for hours at night, which is not good for your mental health. Instead, get into the habit of turning your phone, computer, TV and games consoles off an hour before you plan to sleep, and settle down with a book, face mask, cup of tea, or shower before bed, to get calm and comfortable.
Other top tips for a great night’s sleep include:
- Trying to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day, even at the weekend. This routine can help your sleeping pattern in the long run.
- Keeping a sleep diary of when you fall asleep and wake up, as well as how long you sleep for and any disruptions to sleep through the night. This can help you understand your sleeping pattern and how it’s impacting your day, as well as your mood.
- Relaxation podcasts or playlists are a great way to drift off. Or, why not download an app such as Calm or Headspace, which will deliver exercises that can help you de-stress, unwind and fall asleep with ease.
The link between sleep and mental health is undeniable, and getting a good night’s rest can help to put you in a positive mood and alleviate any stresses or worries you may have.
So, log off and get your cosiest pyjamas on. Sweet dreams!