From Melissa Howard:
How to Boost Your Mental Health by Improving Your Sleep
Mental health issues and suicide seem to be running rampant in our society lately. There’s a good chance that someone you care about is living with anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, or another mental health condition, or perhaps you are living with one of those conditions. Regardless, you’re probably looking for ways that you or a loved one could boost your mental and emotional health.
It should come as no surprise that scientific studies have linked physical health to mental and emotional health. What many people are not aware of, however, is the link between our sleeping habits and our mental wellness. Believe it or not, getting a good night’s sleep can be one of the easiest ways to improve your emotional health – and it also happens to be something that is, for the most part, within your control.
Here are some tips on how you can improve your sleeping habits in order to boost your mental and emotional health:
1 – Invest in a New Mattress.
One of the first ways to invest in your mental health is by buying yourself a new mattress. According to Prevention Magazine, your mattress should be changed out every five to ten years. Not so fast, though; that doesn’t mean you have to rush out and purchase a brand new memory foam mattress. As it turns out, not all mattresses are created equal. That’s why it’s important to do your research and read reviews of the best mattresses on the market today.
Some mattresses are better equipped for certain types of sleepers – for instance, some work better for side sleepers than stomach sleepers. Others are better at eliminating back pain or keeping you cool at night. By doing your homework before making a purchase, you can find the best mattress for your sleep and body type.
2 – Unwind Before Bed
Have you ever been so relaxed that you’ve felt like drifting off to sleep? This dreamlike state of bliss is how most people feel after a massage or a nice day at the spa. However, going to the spa is expensive. Instead, here’s how you can bring the spa to you!
First, consider some activities you could do from the comfort of your own home to relax and unwind in the evenings. This could be something as simple as diffusing lavender or another relaxing essential oil into the air in your home. Another excellent daily ritual is writing in a journal. Writing is great for clearing your mind, overcoming difficult feelings, and expressing yourself creatively. For instance, you might create your own prayer, journal your feelings, or write with the specific intention for healing your body, mind, and soul.
Another beautiful bedtime practice is yoga. You could try some gentle stretches before bed or even give Yoga Nidra a try. If you haven’t heard of Yoga Nidra, it’s known as the yoga of dreamless, deep sleep. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, you might even listen to a Yoga Nidra playlist or meditation video on YouTube.
3 – Work Out
For some people, daily exercise can help promote healthier sleeping habits. Of course, when you’re living with mental health conditions like anxiety or depression, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to hit the gym. Some days, you can barely motivate yourself to get out of bed! If you’re having one of those days, these tips for exercising with depression may be just what you need.
4 – Get into a Rhythm
Your circadian rhythm is your body’s internal regulation system, which controls your ability to get a good night’s sleep as well as the times that you fall asleep and wake up. Although it’s easier said than done sometimes, do your very best to go to bed and wake up at the same times each day or night. That will help train your brain and your body to stick to a sleep schedule.
If you’ve tried the tips listed in this article and you’re not having any success, it might be worth your time to talk to a medical professional about some other options. If your mental and emotional health seem to be deteriorating or your feelings of anxiety or depression are getting worse, there are treatment options that your doctor can recommend. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or tendencies or feelings of hopelessness, don’t delay. There are so many treatment options available these days, and it’s simply not worth risking your life when you could get the help you need.