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Do you have trouble sleeping?

At some point in our lives, most of us have experienced that feeling of being stuck awake, watching as it gets later and later. Whether it’s a rare occurrence, or something that is experienced on a regular basis, not being able to sleep can have a considerable effect on our mental health. 

For one, it can affect us going into the next day, and two you could experience a lot of anxiety about sleep. Especially if you are stuck laying awake knowing that you’ve got to be up early. 

Last week was World Sleep Day, and with that we feel like this is a fantastic opportunity to talk about some of the links between mental health and sleep, as well as also offering some tips that may help in regards to sleep!

In all parts of life staying healthy is so important, and making sure to get a decent amount (around 8 hours is what’s recommended!) can truly have a positive impact on our lives. However, for whatever reason it can be hard to achieve. For example, perhaps you are trying to juggle staying up late playing video games until the early hours of the morning while also trying to get through University. Talking from experience, whilst at the time it might be fun, that will quickly fade the day after. Or instead, perhaps you’ve always just struggled with sleep as a whole. 

In 2023, a survey was done by Nuffield Health that determined that on average people in the UK were only getting 5.91 hours of sleep, a decrease from 6.11 in 2022. 

So what are the links between sleep and mental health?

It can be described as a close relationship between the two things, living with a mental health problem can often affect how well you sleep, and poor sleep can have a negative impact on your mental health. 

For example here is a cycle which highlights this…

Feelings of stress or worry -> Lack of sleep -> Tiredness -> Difficulty coping with daily life -> Low self-esteem. 

This then repeats.

If you are experiencing problems sleeping you might…

- Be more likely to feel anxious, depressed or suicidal

- Be more likely to have psychotic episodes – poor sleep can trigger mania, psychosis or paranoia and make existing symptoms worse.

- Feel lonely or isolated. 

- Have difficulty concentrating or making plans and decisions.

- Feel irritable or not have the energy to do things throughout the day. 

- Have problems with day to day life

- Be more affected by other problems

So what can you do?

As someone who has experienced many difficulties with sleep over the past few years, I have tried a lot of different things to fix it! However, last month I found something that really worked for me which was setting aside some time every night to read a book for an hour or so before bed! 

However, if you aren’t keen on reading or this doesn’t work for you here are some other tips that you can try…

1) Avoiding screens in the time leading up to going to bed. Screen time has been found to often make us more awake, and as such can negatively impact our ability to fall asleep!  So to counter this, maybe set aside some time before bed to turn the screens off, and just allow yourself some time to relax away from it all.

2) Establishing a healthy routine. Sometimes having a set time to both go to bed and then wake up the following morning can help us. After a while, our bodies will associate this time with sleep, and hopefully it will become easier for you to fall asleep around this time.

3) You could start a sleep diary through which you can keep track of the things that may/may not work. Here is a template ->

4) Leading on from our earlier point of no screen time, allowing yourself some time to just relax can be so important! Perhaps you could read a book, listen to music, have a bath or even just practise some breathing exercises.

And lastly if it is something you are really struggling with, there is never anything wrong in seeking support. 

At Burton and District Mind, we are here for you, and can help you with your mental health. So please if you are struggling, come and have a chat with us! 

You can find all our contact information below…

01283 566696


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