Sleep plays an indispensable role in promoting mental health and well-being. As we rest, our brain works diligently to process information from the day, consolidate memories, and regulate emotions. This processing helps in enhancing cognitive functions, improving concentration, and boosting decision-making abilities. A good night’s sleep can aid in reducing stress, anxiety, and emotional volatility, allowing individuals to face the next day with a clearer mind and more balanced mood.
Furthermore, chronic sleep deprivation is linked to an increased risk of various mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and mood imbalances. Sleep acts as a natural restorative process for our brain, replenishing its energy reserves and repairing cellular damage. When this restoration is disrupted or insufficient, it can lead to impaired cognitive function, reduced emotional resilience, and an overall sense of fatigue and lethargy. Ensuring adequate sleep is, therefore, not only vital for our physical health but also crucial in maintaining our mental and emotional equilibrium.
Small changes to improve your sleep can make a big difference on your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Check out these 10 strategies to get what Arianna Huffington thinks is the most critical element of well-being.
- Wind down – a relaxing nighttime routine without screens will give your brain a chance to unwind and buffer you from the sleep-disrupting blue light emitted from screens. Even a 30-60 minute screen break before bed can improve your sleep. If that does not feel realistic, consider dark mode and/or blue light glasses, as something is better than nothing.
- Wake up around the same time every day – whether you have an early meeting, or childcare obligation or not. A consistent sleep and wake cycle will do wonders for better sleep.
- Rise and shine – break the snooze habit. Do you really want your first decision of the day to be to procrastinate? If it’s hard to get up in the mornings, making this change might just do the trick.
- Beds are for… sleeping, and yes, that, but not work emails or Hulu binging. It’s best to associate your bed with rest 💤
- Skip the all-nighter – Maybe you tried it in college, but staying up all night to plan for that meeting or get a project done never has the desired effect, as it wreaks havoc on your physical and mental health. A sleepless night can disrupt your memory for up to 4 days. That surely won’t help you for your next presentation the next morning.
- Limit naps – if you have trouble sleeping, stick to 10-20 minute power naps. Longer naps can lead to waking during a REM cycle, which may leave you groggy and make it harder to sleep at night.
- Avoid alcohol, nicotine, and heavy meals in the evening – they routinely mess with quality sleep. If you’re feeling like you need to catch-up, try a handful of nights in a row following this advice.
- Be mindful of how caffeine affects you – find your cut-off time and avoid caffeinated drinks after that. For many, after 3 pm spells sleepy-time trouble.
- Get up and try again – after 20 minutes of lying in bed tossing and turning, get up and do something relaxing or boring for a while before returning to bed. That’s a far better idea than watching the clock and feeling frustrated.
- Try a good old-fashioned alarm clock – using your phone is not doing you any favors, especially if those ever-present notifications grab your attention in the middle of the night when you check the time.
Which of these sleep strategies do you want to give a whirl? Start with one or two and build upon them to become a sleep champ for your physical, emotional and mental health!
Diversus Health is a mental and behavioral healthcare organization that has been serving the Pikes Peak and tri-county area for over 145 years. If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health, call 719-572-6100 to begin the Same Day Access intake with one of our professional mental health providers at Diversus Health today. If you need immediate assistance, call our crisis hotline at 844-493-8255, text ‘TALK’ to 38255, or visit our 24/7 walk-in crisis center at 115 S. Parkside Dr.