Sleep and your mental health

Sleep is an essential tool needed to help us achieve and maintain good physical and mental health. It helps us deal with the many emotions we encounter daily. Sleep and mental health are closely linked and interwoven.

Worry and anxiety can lead to poor sleep which leads to irritability, anxiety, and difficulty coping. The amount of sleep needed is very individual, but if you’re struggling try these tips.



Stick to a sleep routine

  • Sticking to consistent times for getting up and going to bed will help your brain get into a sleep routine. Try to avoid naps during the day.
  • Make your bedroom comfortable – quiet, cool, and dark is best. Bed’s for sleep (and sex) – checking emails, playing games, shopping, or social media will make your brain active just when you want it to be winding down.
  • Switch off screens an hour before bedtime – the blue light from them interferes with the sleep hormone melatonin.



Wind down before bedtime

  • Physical activity is great for promoting sleep, but avoid exercising too close to bedtime or you'll find it hard to wind down.
  • Caffeine is a stimulant, so stick to decaf tea or coffee from the afternoon onwards.
  • Alcohol might make you feel sleepy, but it actually disrupts your sleep rhythms so avoid drinking before bedtime.
  • Don’t eat a large meal, or rich, acidic, or sugary foods close to bedtime.



If you still can't sleep...

  • If you can’t sleep, try not to worry about it. Focus on resting and relaxation instead – try some mindfulness practice, or listen to a soothing sounds app.
  • It can help to get up for a while, then go back to bed when you feel sleepy.
  • Try keeping paper and pen by your bed – if worries keep you awake, write them down and tell yourself that you’ll deal with them in the morning.



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