You spend a lot of your life asleep, and when you go to bed for the night, you want to experience restful sleep. Those with mental health struggles like depression and anxiety may struggle to calm their minds enough to drift off. When that happens, emotional and mental struggles may worsen. Thankfully, there are several sleeping tips for those with mental health struggles.
Improved Sleep Hygiene
A large part of a better sleep foundation is developing healthy sleep habits. Without getting the fundamentals down, there’s nothing to build on. It’s good to have a regular bedtime that lets the body and mind know when it’s time to wind down for the night. Engaging in relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing can help the mind and body relax before bed.
Momentary and lingering stress wears on the mind. Experts also note that stress disturbs the digestive, immune and cardiovascular systems and sleep patterns. It’s hard to calm down enough to drift off to sleep when stress floods the mind and body with signals to prepare for a threat. Depression and anxiety can either send stress signals through the body or cause stress. Either way, sleep becomes a foreign notion.
Those with work-related stress could try creating a work diary to stay organized, note celebratory triumphs and successes, and manage work projects. Outside the office, it’s key to identify stressors, such as specific places, situations, or people. After noting triggers, it’s time to develop a plan to navigate them. Perhaps it’s a good idea to avoid stressful spaces or change up one’s routine to avoid stressful times at specific places. For instance, rather than going to a busy grocery store after work, it could be less stressful to go during the morning or evening.
Create a Helpful Sleep Environment
One’s bedroom and sleep environment can help or hinder sleep efforts. Keeping a room cool at night supports healthy sleep, as does lowering the lights around bedtime. Playing soothing music or nature sounds helps ease the body and mind to sleep. Those who have roommates or live in a noisy neighborhood may benefit from a pair of quality earplugs.
Develop an Exercise Routine
Not only can exercise help with sleep, but it can help with mental health struggles, too. Exercise tires the body out and burns energy, which may facilitate a faster, more restful sleep. Exercise also releases endorphins, which make a person feel good. Endorphins and the health benefits of exercise may make it easier to manage mental health issues. It’s best not to exercise four hours before bed, as the body needs time to wind down.
One of the great things about exercise is there are several types to choose from. Walking may not seem like the most vigorous form of exercise, but it’s a great way to get out of the house, get the body moving and enjoy some fresh air, all of which help with mental health struggles. It’s a good idea to try out different exercise styles and change them up to avoid becoming stagnant and complacent.
It’s frustrating when poor sleep and mental health issues feed and strengthen each other. With the right tips, insights, and routine, it’s possible to break the cycle.
The Center for Health and Healing takes a functional approach to healthcare. We offer a number of different services, including men’s health, women’s health, alternate pain management, and massage therapy. To learn more about how we can care for you, please contact us at (713) 660-6620.