Sleep for Mental Health
If you want to perform at your optimal level and decrease mental health symptoms, then sleep. Your body and mind recover during sleep.
There is research indicating typical levels of recommended sleep which is in the range of 7-10 hours, but each individual is different so the main determinant of whether or not you are getting enough sleep is if you feel rested and have energy throughout the day.
There are multiple reasons why people struggle with sleep from not being able to fall asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, unhealthy habits around sleep, etc. Referencing chapter 9 of The Depression Cure, Dr. Ilaardi recommends 10 simple sleep habit recommendations:
1. Use the bed only for sleeping- you are conditioning your body and brain that the bed is where you sleep.
2. Get up at the same time every day- this strengthens your biological clock
3. Avoid napping- this is specific to people who struggle with sleep, if sleep is not an issue for you, there is no evidence that napping is harmful and may even be helpful.
4. Avoid bright light at night- this is another way to condition your brain and biological clock. If you must work at night, I recommend blue light blockers a few hours before you go to sleep.
5. Avoid caffeine- specifically important for later in the day.
6. Avoid alcohol at night- may work for the first few hours but has a horrible rebound effect
7. Keep the same bedtime every night- another biological clock recommendation
8. Turn down the thermostat at night- there is evidence that mild drops in temperature increase sleep drive.
9. Avoid taking your problems to sleep with you- This is a lot easier said then done, but stress and worry will impede sleep. Use strategies to avoid stressful thoughts and this is where a therapist or sleep coach can be helpful.
10. Don’t try to fall asleep- The best sleep is sleep that happens naturally. The more you force it, the less likely it will happen. Most of the time, using the other 9 strategies will assist with more natural sleep.
Rested people are productive, focused, and regulated. If you want to perform at your optimal level and manage your mental health symptoms, then sleep!
If you are having troubles sleeping because of stress and worry, a therapist can help.
To schedule a free consultation, visit www.inspirehealthandperformance.com.