Physical health and mental health are inextricably linked. Maintaining a healthy diet and a regular exercise regimen can improve your overall health, but did you know that getting a good night’s sleep can help you be physically and mentally healthy?
Sleep can affect your moods and how you learn and make memories. The connection doesn’t end there. Sleep impacts the health of your organs and keeps essential bodily functions like your metabolism, immune system and endocrine system operating properly. This is because sleep helps to re-energize the cells in your body and increases the amount of space between brain cells, which allows fluids to flow and easily clear away toxins.
Poor quality sleep can increase your risk of manic or psychotic episodes, paranoia, anxiety and depression. Nearly 80% of people who see a psychiatrist experience sleep problems. In contrast, only 10-18% of adults in the general public experience sleep problems.
If you’re trying to improve your mental health, you should make it a priority to get enough restful sleep each night. A restful night of sleep is one where you fall asleep within 30 minutes, are asleep for at least 85% of the time you are in bed and wake up no more than once a night for no longer than 20 minutes.
Struggling to get a good night’s sleep? Here are a few tips to improve your sleep and mental health.
- Go to sleep and wake-up at the same time to keep your body’s rhythms running on a schedule.
- Exercise in the morning and afternoon. If you have to exercise at night, try to do it 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- Get at least 30 minutes of sunlight each day. Sunlight helps to maintain your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
- Consume caffeinated drinks only in the morning and at least 8 hours before sleeping.
- Avoid eating before bed, which can cause indigestion and heartburn that may interrupt your sleep.
- If you nap, do it before 3pm and for no longer than an hour.
- If you lay awake in bed for longer than 20 minutes, get up and do a calming activity until you feel sleepy.
- Don’t use tobacco products which contain the stimulant nicotine, a substance that can keep you up at night.
- Make your bedroom a quiet space without distractions like noises, bright lights and TV or computer screens, which can confuse your body’s internal clock.
- Consume alcoholic beverages with caution. Alcohol can prevent you from getting the deep and restful sleep your body needs.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, consider speaking with a doctor who can help you address any underlying issues that could be preventing you from getting restful sleep. There are small ways you can improve your physical and mental health, but if you find you are still struggling with mental health problems, counseling can help support healthy lifestyle changes and can help you transform your life for the better.
At TTHI Counseling Center, we provide behavioral therapy and substance abuse counseling at our counseling centers in Kissimmee, Longwood and St. Cloud and in Tennessee at our Memphis and Chattanooga counseling centers. Our team of mental health professionals is ready to help you transform your life.