Good Sleep for Good Mental Health

Worth Living Ambassador Haddi Browne

Hello, my name is Haddi. I am a Research professional and a Psychology graduate. During my course, I volunteered within various mental health services, which included working on a helpline for people affected by mental illness, organising activities for inpatients on a psychiatric ward, and working in a therapeutic community for people with severe mental illnesses. For me, the most interesting parts of my degree were learning about different mental illnesses and their causes and treatments.

Good Sleep for Good Mental Health

Having good sleep patterns is important for both physical and mental health.

Poor sleep can cause or worsen mental health issues. Not sleeping well can also slow down recovery from mental illness.

Here are 12 good sleep hygiene practices:

1.Spend the appropriate amount of time asleep in bed – not sleeping too little or too much
2.Limit daytime naps to 30 minutes . Napping does not make up for inadequate nighttime sleep. However, a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance.
3.Avoid stimulants such as  caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime.
4.Drink in moderation. Alcohol is well-known to help you fall asleep faster. However, too much close to bedtime can disrupt sleep in the second half of the night as the body begins to process the alcohol.
5.Exercise to promote good quality sleep, but avoiding strenuous workouts close to bedtime.
6.Close to bedtime, avoid heavy or rich foods, fatty or fried meals, spicy dishes, citrus fruits, and carbonated drinks
7.Get as much exposure to natural light as possible. Exposure to sunlight during the day, as well as darkness at night, helps to maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle .
8.Establish a regular relaxing bedtime routine to help the body realise that it is bedtime. Good bedtime routines may include taking a warm shower or bath, reading a book, or light stretches.
9.Avoid emotionally upsetting conversations and activities before trying to sleep.
10.Make sure that your  sleep environment is pleasant. Your mattress and pillows should be comfortable. Your bedroom should not be too hot or too cold.
11.Adjust or turn off lamps and TV screens as bright lights can make it difficult to fall asleep
12.Consider buying blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices that can make the bedroom more relaxing and comfortable


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