There’s a close link between sleeping and mental health. If you are struggling to sleep this is likely to have a negative impact on your mental health. In the same way, if you’re struggling with your mental health then you are likely to have difficulties sleeping.
Why is sleep so important?
-Your body repairs itself whilst you sleep
-The brain consolidates memories
-Rest is needed to feel more aware when awake
-The brain process emotions and reactions
-It reduces your blood pressure
-Your appetite hormones are regulated
-Improves your immune function
-Improves ability to recognise expressions of emotion
How long should you sleep for?
The length of time that should be spent sleeping varies from person to person. However, most healthy adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep each night to function at their best. Children and teens tend to need more.
How to increase your sleep hours/quality:
-Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine for 4-6 hours before bedtime
-Ensure your sleeping environment is quiet, dark and cool
-Keeping laptops, TVs, work materials etc. out of the room will improve the mental association between your bedroom and sleep
-After over 20 minutes of struggling to sleep engage in a quiet, restful activity such as reading (in low light) or listening to music until you’re ready to fall asleep to avoid feelings of frustration which will prevent you sleeping
-Maintain a consistent sleep and wake time to set your body’s internal sleep clock
-Exercise early in the day to help you fall asleep faster (at least 3 hours before bedtime)
-Increase time spent in natural/bright light during the day
-Avoid blue lights from phone screens and other devices at least 2 hours before bedtime