Friday 3th March
Sleep is a process we can sometimes take for granted in today’s fast-paced world and yet it is such an important part of our physical and mental wellbeing. Health experts have found that prolonged sleep difficulties can increase the risk of chronic health difficulties as well as depression and anxiety. World Sleep Day is a campaign to encourage healthy habits which will promote good sleep, and in turn, affect how we feel physically and emotionally.
There is a strong link between our mental wellbeing and sleep, and difficulties with sleep can be one of the most salient physical symptoms when are feeling depressed or anxious. Sleep can either be a cause or symptom of mental health difficulties. We may have trouble with falling asleep or sometimes we find that we wake up during the night and struggle to go back to sleep.
Whilst there is a strong link between sleep and mental health, it is also important to consider that sleep difficulties can be triggered by unhelpful behaviours that result in poor sleep hygiene. There are steps we can take to improve our sleep, by paying attention to our sleep hygiene. Below are some of the steps we can take towards improving our sleep:
Getting into a regular routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day is important for training our body clock. Having a regular sleep clock contributes to better quality sleep.
We can be tempted to overload on caffeinated drinks, especially when we have slept poorly. However, experts recommend avoiding the consumption of caffeinated drinks for at least 4-6 hours before going to bed.
Health professionals also recommend cutting down on nicotine, which has been found to be associated with increased anxiety and sleep difficulties.
We often perceive alcohol to be relaxing and think it can help us get to sleep. However, alcohol can lead to disturbed sleep and affect the quality of sleep and is best to avoid before bedtime.
According to the Sleep Foundation, the use of electronic devices before bed can interfere with sleep by reducing the production of necessary hormones that promote sleep.
Taking naps during the day can disrupt our body clock and result in wakefulness at night.
Getting into a routine of doing 10 – 20 minutes of relaxation exercises before bedtime can be a helpful way of training our body to recognise when it is bedtime.« Back to News & Blog
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