It’s World Mental Health Day today (October 10) and in a world where it is becoming increasingly hard to ‘switch off’, today is a good reminder that good health includes mental wellbeing.
There are many ways we can boost our mood (exercise, diet etc) but sleep plays a critical role when it comes to maintaining positive mental health.
It’s no secret that sleep helps us function effectively every day. When we have one bad night we immediately spot the effects – irritability, lack of patience and concentration etc. However, long term sleep deprivation has serious health consequences including anxiety, depression and other serious mental illnesses.
Scientists have found a direct correlation between anxiety and rhythm of sleep. When a person is anxious, their heart rate increases, which causes the brain to ‘race’, too. An alert mind produces beta waves, making you far too stimulated to sleep. To make matters worse, an active brain triggers other worries, so it’s even harder to achieve sleep.
Here are some top tips you can use to help get a good night’s sleep and prevent sleep deprivation.
– Keep regular hours. Going to bed and getting up at the same time, all the time, programmes the body to sleep better. Your mind and body loves it!
– Turn off screens an hour before bedtime. Social media, news, work emails can all stimulate the brain and cause anxious thoughts/feelings.
– Avoid alcohol. While it may help you fall asleep initially, it will interrupt your sleep later on in the night.
– Cut down on caffeine – especially in the evening. Have a hot milky drink or herbal tea instead.
– Try to exercise at least three times a week for 30 minutes. A brisk walk in the Autumn fresh air will do wonders for clearing your mind.
– Wind down properly before bed. Read a book, have a bath, listen to soothing music or even meditate.
– Deal with worries or heavy workload but making lists of things to be tackled the next day.
– Create a sanctuary to sleep in. Messy bedrooms make for a messy mind so de-clutter. Invest in a comfortable, supportive bed and luxurious bedding.
It’s important to recognise when you’re feeling stressed or anxious so that you can help take the necessary steps to get help. Our stress awareness test can help identify how you are feeling.
If you want to try and sleep better, why not try our 30 Day Better Sleep Plan.