Sharp, Focused and Happy:
The Connection Between Sleep and Mental Health
Anyone who’s ever gone a few nights without good, restful sleep can attest to the fact that sleep and mental health are closely tied. Sleep deprivation makes it difficult to concentrate, affects memory, impairs cognitive functioning and makes you anxious, impatient and irritable. It’s pretty difficult to function effectively and as normal under such circumstances.
For people with mental health disorders, it’s even more problematic because they’re even more likely to suffer from insomnia and a variety of other sleep disorders. Medical science is still working out the fine points of the sleep/mental health connection, but neurochemistry studies have shown that restful, restorative sleep does bolster emotional and mental resilience, and that sleep deprivation contributes to pessimistic thinking and emotional instability. Clearly, there’s no substitute for a good night’s sleep. Your health depends on it.
Stay on schedule
Maintaining a well-established sleep routine is perhaps the single most important sleep strategy. That means going to bed and getting up at the same time each day. This helps your body set its own internal clock so it knows when to begin to settle down each evening and when it’s time to be active and aware. This is especially important for children, who are most in need of regular, restful sleep. Stick to the same routine each evening so you and your kids don’t go off schedule. It’s easy to let happen. Maintain the status quo as much as possible on weekends, when you’re traveling, and when you’re on vacation. This will keep you from lapsing into bad sleeptime habits that can lead to sleep deprivation and a decline in mental and emotional health.
If you have trouble getting to sleep, try getting your mind and body prepared for bedtime by ceasing intense activity an hour or two before you go to bed. This will slow your heart rate and allow your mind to downshift so your thoughts aren’t racing as bedtime approaches. Turn off (all the way) TV and computer screens so the bluish light that bathes the room when the lights are out doesn’t signal your brain it’s time to wake up. If possible, don’t leave your smartphone right next to your bed. Remember that a heavy meal and alcohol close to bedtime will force your heart/metabolism to work harder and make it difficult to fall asleep.
Regular physical activity is an excellent way to stay physically healthy, but it’s also a great way to facilitate sleep at night and support your mental health. If possible, spend time outside each day being physically active by playing sports, running, walking, riding a bike, doing yard work or gardening. Fresh air and sunshine are healthy for both mind and body and, so, are conducive to healthful sleep.
A sleep-enabled environment
This is a fairly obvious notion, but a lot of people underestimate the importance of establishing a sleep environment conducive to sleeping. If you’re used to keeping the TV on all night, reconsider your approach. Instead, keep things quiet, dark, and cool (about 72 degrees Fahrenheit), which describe an optimal sleeping environment that can improve sleep and reduce stress. Use blackout curtains if light from outside is a problem, or use a white noise app on your smartphone or turn on a fan if noises tend to keep you awake. Consider taking a hot shower or bath shortly before bed to help relax and slow your metabolism a bit. Napping is generally considered a healthful practice, but can make it hard to get to sleep if you have insomnia or another sleep disorder.
Getting enough sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health. It’s essential for mental acuity and good physical health. And it makes you much easier to be around during the day.
Courtesy of Pixabay.com.
For more great articles on this and many other important health topics visit www.healthconditions.info/
“Caregivers who are equipped with knowledge can favorably affect the outcome of the health condition, and deal with it in a more effective manner.
Tools such as the Dr. Guide books educate people in the proper preventative and treatment techniques, supplying them with a degree of confidence and allaying fears of the unknown.”
“I look upon the “Herb Interaction” book as a “quickie” for my pharmacy team, no need to get bogged down on the computer.”
“We had the highest BRC (business Reply Card) return rate of all time – it built up great customer goodwill and easier repeat calls.”
The Dr’ Guide books were a great door opener and relationship builder with the allergy medical team. Our reps loved them.