Better Sleep Can Mean Better Mental Wellness

Sleep is the best meditation.
— Dalai Lama

While it’s often acknowledged that you can feel better with a good night’s sleep, it might surprise you to learn your psychological health is linked closely with the quality of your slumber. If you tend to burn the candle at both ends, you could even be damaging your mind. Read on for a better understanding of the relationship between slumber and mental wellness.

Cause for Concern

Sleeping seems like a passive event, but your mind and body rely on sleep to recover from the day’s activities. Some scientists believe during sleep, your brain performs vital processes, which essentially amount to housekeeping functions. When you don’t get enough sleep, things can get “messy,” leading to symptoms like fogginess, higher stress levels, reduced productivity, poorer judgment, and increased risk for depression. US News points out that ongoing sleep problems can leave you more apt to mull over negative thought patterns, less able to regulate your moods, and even put you at higher risk for suicide. Thankfully, you can take some simple steps to help improve your slumber.

Rethink Your Sleeping Environment

Does your bedroom promote a good night’s sleep? Your environment can play a big role in how well you sleep at night. The atmosphere might be preventing you from catching enough shuteye without you even realizing it. The room should be a quiet, dark, comfortable sanctuary. Look for ways to reduce stress so you feel soothed and relaxed when you turn in at night. If light is peeping in, consider installing blackout shades or curtains for optimal darkness. Keeping the room cool and comfortable can be a key to better sleep. Adding a portable air conditioner or a space heater can provide the necessary adjustment if you don’t want the rest of your home affected. Many people benefit from a sound machine as well, which works to reduce the amount of outside noise you hear and offers steady, soothing, quiet sound.

Improve Your Schedule

Many people think that once you reach adulthood, having a bedtime is irrelevant. However, our bodies are subject to what is called circadian rhythms, which refers to the daily 24-hour cycle. Our bodies and minds operate in response to day and night, with all of our biological networking reacting and integrated together. Experts at Time explain that establishing a sleep schedule can be instrumental in keeping your circadian rhythms on track. Ideally, you’ll plan to hit the sack between 8 pm and midnight, but the main goal is to set a bedtime schedule and stick to it every day, even on days off. Similarly, you should plan to rise at the same time each morning. 

Better Bedtime Routine

Spending time preparing for sleep can be a key to improving the quality of your slumber. Think about creating a bedtime routine that helps you settle in and drops your energy levels. Consider calming activities, such as playing quiet music, doing gentle yoga, and meditating. Sometimes, putting things into words can be cleansing. If you struggle with calming your mind, try some journaling to process your thoughts and emotions. Avoid things that stir you up, such as checking email, paying bills, watching the news or engaging social media. Stimulating beverages, such as coffee or colas, and nicotine products can have you feeling more alert, so set them aside several hours before bedtime. Heavy meals late in the day can also influence sleep negatively, as well as drinking alcohol right before bed. 

Slumber is surprisingly important to mental wellness. By getting your nights under control, you can feel better during your days. Make sure your environment is appropriate for a good night’s sleep, and change up your routine as needed. You can have a better quality of life as a result. 

Guest blog by: Sheila Olson of |

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