How does sleep help mental health recovery?
The healing effects of an average of 7 to 9 hours of sleep seen in adults are upheld by medical professionals across the globe. It’s essential to note that, besides physical recovery, sleep also has a huge role to play in mental health recovery.
But sadly, more than 1 in 4 adults in the age bracket of 18- and 24-years suffer from insomnia every night. That’s an appalling number!
Sleep and mental health are inextricably connected. Sleep deprivation can lead to mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, anger, and more. Depriving yourself of the necessary amount of sleep every night can cause fatigue, irritability, and mood disturbances. This, in turn, can contribute to or exacerbate mental health disorders.
As such, improving sleep quality can have a positive impact on mental health. Good quality sleep helps to regulate the levels of hormones, such as serotonin and cortisol, which play a crucial role in regulating mood. Reduced production of stress hormones promotes relaxation, thereby reducing anxiety levels and improving overall emotional well-being.
It’s also interesting to note that during sleep, the brain may also engage in a process known as “brain cleaning.” This process involves the removal of waste products and toxins from the brain, which may accumulate during waking hours. Brain cleaning may help to prevent the buildup of toxic proteins, such as beta-amyloid, which are associated with neurodegenerative diseases.
Sleeping better for mental health recovery
By prioritizing good sleep habits and seeking treatment for sleep disorders, individuals can support their mental health and improve their overall quality of life. In this post, let’s take you through some ways in which you can manage your sleep better and promote your mental health recovery.
Establish a Regular Sleep Schedule
Establishing a regular sleep schedule can be a helpful strategy for managing sleep as part of mental health recovery. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends. This can help regulate your body’s internal clock and improve your sleep quality.
If you need to adjust your sleep schedule (for example, to accommodate a new work schedule), do so gradually. Make small adjustments (such as 15-30 minutes earlier or later each day) until you reach your desired sleep schedule. Always remember that the more consistent you are, the better your sleep quality will become. Better quality sleep, in turn, promotes mental health recovery.
Limit the consumption of stimulants
Avoid consuming stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol close to bedtime to improve your sleep quality. These substances can interfere with sleep and disrupt the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Caffeine, for instance, is a stimulant that can interfere with sleep, so it’s important to limit your consumption, especially in the afternoon and evening.
Try to avoid caffeine-containing foods and beverages such as coffee, tea, energy drinks, and chocolate before bedtime. If you enjoy drinking coffee or tea, try switching to decaf or herbal varieties. These options are typically caffeine-free and can still be enjoyable to drink.
Limit your screen time
Believe it or not, our mobile devices are one of the primary reasons behind people getting less sleep. It’s certainly a boon but excess use of it has been linked to sleep disruption. It has become an almost automatic response to check emails and text messages before sleeping but it’s recommended to limit it.
Avoid using electronic devices, such as smartphones and computers, in the hour or two leading up to your bedtime. The blue light emitted by these devices can interfere with sleep and suppress the production of the hormone melatonin, which is important for regulating sleep. As such, it’s really time to take note of how much time you spend looking at your screen.
Create a Sleep-Conducive Environment
The room where you sleep has a huge impact on how well you sleep. Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet because such a setting helps promote restful sleep. Use blackout curtains or shades to block out light, and consider using a white noise machine or earplugs to block out noise.
Also, you should consider investing in comfortable bedding, pillows, and a supportive mattress. De-cluttering your bedroom is also an important move because a cluttered or chaotic bedroom can be stressful and make it harder to relax and fall asleep. Always keep your bedroom clean and tidy, and minimize distractions such as pets or electronic devices.
Regular exercise can improve sleep quality and promote overall health and well-being. Time and time again, mental health professionals advise patients to get their bodies moving. Exercise can increase the production of hormones such as melatonin, which promote restful sleep. Endorphins and other “feel-good” hormones are also released during exercise which can greatly help in mental health recovery.
Exercise can tire out the body, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. However, try to avoid exercising too close to bedtime, as this can interfere with sleep. For this reason, it’s generally recommended to finish exercising at least a few hours before bedtime. If you’re new to exercise, start with small, achievable goals and gradually build up over time. Even a short walk or gentle yoga practice can be beneficial.
Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
We are creatures of habit and habit is formed with repetition. For those who are suffering from mental health conditions, developing healthy habits can be challenging. But it’s certainly not impossible. All you need is consistency. By consistently performing the same activities before bed, you can train your body to recognize that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.
Develop a relaxing bedtime routine to help signal to your body that it’s time for sleep. This could include taking a warm bath, reading a book, or practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation. When you perform these activities regularly, you are sure to see a significant improvement in your sleep quality.
Approach a professional
If you are experiencing sleep problems that are interfering with your mental health recovery, consider seeking treatment for a sleep disorder. This may involve working with a sleep specialist, taking medication, or undergoing behavioral therapies. Mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD can all interfere with sleep. If you are experiencing mental health symptoms that are impacting your sleep, it’s important to seek treatment for the underlying condition.
In some cases, medication may be necessary to manage sleep problems related to mental health conditions. Your healthcare provider can help you determine if medication is appropriate and which medication(s) may be most effective for your needs. Make sure you stay in touch with the professional regularly.
Getting enough good-quality sleep is an important component of mental health recovery. However, some people may require private nursing care given the nature of their condition. If you are looking for senior care services, you can get in touch with us at 24|7 Nursing Care. We can provide you with a nurse for elderly at home who need recovery nursing.