Did you know that a good night of sleep could actually improve your mental health? Approximately 35% of American adults get less than seven hours of sleep per night, and many never achieve a truly restful night of sleep. If you’re in this category or you just want to improve your sleep routine, check out these mental health sleep tips from CNLD Testing & Therapy.
Why Sleep Is Important for Mental Health
During the day, your brain is working overtime. It’s telling your arms to move, your eyes to blink, your lungs to breathe, your legs to walk and your senses to process information about your surroundings. All of this work leaves little time for mental health.
When you sleep at night, your brain has significantly less work to do. This is when it processes thoughts and emotions from the day and locks in key memories. If you don’t sleep, you’re not giving your brain the break it needs to sort through your emotions. This put you at a disadvantage for the next day, and it plants the seed for poor mental health.
Tips for Establishing a Sleep Routine
Consistency is the key to getting a good night sleep, night after night. Try some of these techniques to establish a sleep routine.
- Go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. Bodies thrive when they have a schedule to follow. Instead of falling asleep whenever you feel tired, put yourself on a schedule. It may feel strange at first, but your body will soon become accustomed to the routine.
- Create a wind-down routine before bed. This may include reading a book, taking a bath, settling down with a glass of wine, or anything else you find relaxing.
- Don’t look at your phone at least 30 minutes before bed. The light from your phone inhibits the production of melatonin – your body’s natural trigger for falling asleep. You can use blue light glasses or a filter on your phone to reduce these effects, but ideally, you should let your eyes rest before bed.
- Avoid anything that heavily stimulates your mind. This could include an intense TV show, social media, a book you can’t seem to put down, or anything else that’s going to keep your mind active. If you are going to read or watch TV before bed, choose something that’s not going to hold your attention long.
- Reduce light and sound for bed time. This is particularly important for people who work night shifts because the body is naturally designed to be awake during the day. Put up blackout curtains in your room or wear eye coverings to shield yourself from the light. Use ear plugs to block out noise, and find other ways to address the stimuli in your life.
- Don’t drink caffeine in the evening. You may avoid drinking past a certain point altogether if you’re prone to nighttime bathroom breaks.
- Make your sleep environment as comfortable as possible. Most people enjoy sleeping in a cold room with lots of blankets, but you can create the environment that best suits your taste.
Your sleep routine may not look like someone else’s, and that’s perfectly fine! Every person is unique, and your ideal sleep schedule may not fit the ‘norm.’ As long as your body is getting sufficient rest, your mind will be equipped to tackle the day.
Don’t Stress about Sleep! Rest Is Also Important
Does the thought of going to sleep stress you out? Do you look at the clock worried that there’s not enough time left for a good night of sleep? Don’t let sleep become a chore. If all you can do is rest with your eyes closed for hours, that still gives your mind a chance to process information. You could try listening to a meditation tape or sleep guide to shift from rest to sleep. But if rest is all you get, don’t stress. That’s still an accomplishment.
Improve Your Mental Health to Improve Your Sleep
There is a flip side to this. Getting better sleep can improve your mental health, but better mental health can also improve your sleep! If your mind is at ease, your body can be as well. You’ll feel more relaxed throughout the day and more likely to fall asleep at night.
CNLD Testing & Therapy offers judgement-free therapy for individuals, couples and families. No matter what mental health struggles you’re facing in your life, our therapists are here to support you. We provide personalized solutions that align with your goals and needs. We also offer psychological testing, neuropsychological evaluations, educational advocacy, intervention planning, and much more. Contact us at (734) 994-9466 to start your mental health journey.