As sleep disorders and mental health disorders often go together, sleeping well might be easier said than done. Supporting both sleep and mental health means treating both. Seek therapy and talk to your doctor about how you can manage any serious mental health issues. At the same time, consider steps you can take to improve your sleep health. Are you overlooking important ways you could improve your sleep hygiene?
Consider how much sleep you need each night. For most people, it's between seven to nine hours. But if you struggle with staying asleep, you might need more time. Plan ahead and give yourself enough time to sleep, and stick to a consistent sleep schedule, following the same relaxing bedtime routine each night just before bed.
Sleep is nature's reset button. Just as you might turn your computer or phone off and back on again to see if it solves a problem, sleep is a way of wiping the slate clean every day both physically and mentally. In deep sleep, your body restores itself and packs away everything you've learned and experienced that day. But when you don't sleep enough or get good quality sleep, you're not able to get that full reset that you need every night to start each day fresh and prepared to manage stress, difficult emotions, anxiety, and any other mental challenges the day might throw at you.
Think about how you can improve your sleep environment to make it a healthier place to sleep. If you feel anxious or unsettled in your bedroom, you might want to make some changes. Make sure your bedding is comfortable, and even the wall colour can make a difference in how you feel when you're trying to sleep. Generally, muted tones like a soft blue are better than bold, bright, or patterned walls. Studies have also found scent and aroma improve sleep, consider relaxing and calming room fragrances to help induce a healthy night's sleep.
And just as you should get treatment for mental health disorders, sleep disorders need treatment too. Serious issues such as insomnia or sleep apnoea are treatable, but you'll have to ask your doctor for help and advice.
Blog published in collaboration with SleepHelp.org.