How Building Healthy Sleep Habits Can Improve Your Mental Health
Taking time to improve your sleep quality is a great way to improve your mental health and overall well-being. Quality sleep allows your brain to process emotions, thoughts, and memories, and empowers improved thinking, learning, and overall mental health. Sleep deficiencies can affect the activity in some parts of your brain and may make it making it difficult to control your emotions, cope in an adverse situation, or increase your risk for depression and suicide.
Research shows at least one-third of the population struggles to get the recommended seven hours of sleep needed. A study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered participants who on average received 6 hours of sleep or less a night were two and a half times more likely to experience mental distress than those who slept more than 6 hours. If you struggle to get adequate sleep, it may be time to build habits to improve your quality of sleep.
Below, you will find five tips to help build healthier sleep that we have gathered from the CDC, Mayo Clinic, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
5 Healthy Sleep Habits
- Avoid frequent naps. While naps may make you feel rested at the moment, they can often make it difficult to fall asleep at night. If you plan to nap, it should be earlier in the day and for no more than 20 minutes long.
- Avoid caffeine and nicotine late in the day. Both stimulate your nervous system and make it harder for your body to wind down and fall asleep.
- Get moving. Regular movement is proven to improve the quality of sleep, so find what type of movement gives you energy and make it a part of your daily routine.
- Create a comfortable space. Your bedroom should be quiet, dark, at a comfortable temperature, and without distractions. It should provide you with a sense of relaxation and tranquility.
- Set a routine. Your routine should include time to wind down, nightly hygiene tasks, a set time to go to sleep, and a set time to awake the next day.
Sleep is unique to the individual so it may take several attempts to determine what healthy sleep habits work best for you. Forming healthy habits is a process. Remember you are building upon yourself by creating healthy sleep habits – both physically and mentally.
Senior Life Solutions is Decatur County Memorial Hospital’s program, designed to meet the unique needs of individuals typically 65 and older experiencing depression and/or anxiety related to life changes are often associated with aging. If you or someone you know is struggling with a recent life change or a decline in emotional health, our program wants you to know we are here to help. Our team works to identify and address the emotional needs of those in our community and provide support – whether through our program or another service.
Please call 812-663-1139 or visit dcmh.net if you need more information, education, or would like to discuss support.