Better Sleep Habits Encourage Healthier Life
Updated: Feb 15
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Did you know there is a link between sleep and mental health? It seems how well you snooze could directly affect your mind’s overall wellness. Here’s how the two are related, as well as what steps you can take to improve your slumber so you can enjoy better mental well-being.
Correlated and Correctable
You might be surprised to hear that there is a direct relationship between how well you sleep and your mental health. However, some studies indicate the two are closely connected, and in fact, several mental health issues can impact your sleep habits — and vice versa. Suffering from anxiety, depression, stress, or bipolar disorder can leave you more inclined to develop insomnia. On the other side of the equation, having insomnia can potentially increase your risk for issues such as depression, but that’s not all. According to research cited by Tuck, people with an addiction are from five to 10 times more apt to have sleep disorders. It’s a slippery slope since people will often self-medicate to manage their issues, whether it’s insomnia, anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns. What’s more, those recovering from addiction need plenty of sleep to heal. Thankfully, regardless of your situation, there are many ways you can improve your sleep habits to help end unhealthy cycles.
Check Your Sleep Environment
Missing out on shut-eye is a frustrating issue, especially if you realize you would feel better with more sleep. Adjusting your bedroom to be more conducive to sleep quality can be a great first step. For instance, the color of your bedroom walls could be contributing to your tossing and turning at night. Generally speaking, calming shades of earthy colors and pale blues tend to promote better sleep, and bold hues can make you feel more alert. The temperature of your bedroom can also be a factor in how well you sleep, though cooler temps tend to be optimal. Aim for a range between 60 and 68 degrees, depending on your comfort level.
Stick to a Schedule
Adopting a good sleep schedule can help you avoid counting sheep. By going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning, you can effectively train your mind and body when to go to sleep. It’s important, however, to stick to the same schedule every day, even on weekends. Entrepreneur points out that you can also benefit from a nightly ritual. A little time unwinding to help you release from the day’s stressors and events can settle you for better sleep. Think of things that help you let go of your anxieties. Do some stretches, go for a stroll, lay out your things for the next day, and take a warm bath.
Lights Affect Your Nights
Spending time in the sun can have a big impact on how well you sleep at night, and it appears the earlier in the day you can take in some sunlight, the better. Try to get outside for a half-hour or so within the first hour after you rise, and expose both your eyes and your skin to the sun’s rays. Hang out on your porch munching on breakfast and surfing the web, or take a walk with Fido. Then, at the end of the day, plan to spend time in dim lighting for a half-hour or so before turning in for the evening. Avoid using electronics right before going to bed, since the blue light from tablets, televisions, smartphones, and laptops can make you feel more energized. Plan on an unlit, fully dark room for the best sleep quality.
Sleep is important to your mental well-being. So, make some adjustments to your environment and daily habits for better shut-eye. Instead of staring at the ceiling, drift off into restful sleep so you can enjoy a happier, healthier life.