Home Sleep Health Sleep and Mental Health: Importance of Good Sleep to Mental Well-Being

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27 September 2022

Sleep and Mental Health: Importance of Good Sleep to Mental Well-Being

Every year on the 10th of October, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Federation for Mental Health raise awareness about the importance of mental health, while providing a platform for mental health professionals to talk about their work and efforts in supporting those suffering from mental health conditions.

Perhaps one of the most important factors influencing overall mental health is sleep. Sleep affects our overall mood and mental health in several ways and striving for optimal, healthy sleep quality can help us limit the likelihood of developing mental health problems.

Link between good sleep and mental health

Sleep is an essential bodily process. Just like eating, drinking, and breathing, we must sleep in order for our bodies to function and keep us alive. It then goes without saying that sleep is vital for our physical and psychological well-being. In fact, based on a recent study done by Emma – The Sleep Company, sleep is perceived to be a priority among people in the UK as it’s the activity that contributes most to a person’s well-being, along with doing sports activities, eating well, and social time.

When we sleep, our brains are hard at work processing the day’s information, activating and boosting our immune systems, and producing vital growth hormones to ensure our bodies are well-rested, recovered, and ready for the next day. If worst comes to worst, not getting enough sleep can exacerbate mental health problems like depression and anxiety by making it increasingly difficult to deal with stressful situations and everyday life problems.

Emma's sleep experts also verified this. One study conducted in the UK on a population of 500 participants showed that those who slept less than three hours per night were also the same who, on average, rated the quality of their mental health as low. On the other hand, those who slept six to eight hours rated their mental health as high. This then shows the critical effect that sleep has on our health.

Our emotional experiences are reactivated at night when we integrate them into already existing memory structures and in turn, process them effectively. This step mostly happens during the dreaming stages of our sleep, and it is extremely important, especially after traumatic experiences as it can prevent distressing after-effects, but it’s still essential for our everyday experiences.

People who get enough sleep are more emotionally balanced, have better mood, are calmer, and show more motivation and commitment as they have a better ability to regulate and evaluate their emotions. Essentially, sleep is a natural mood booster and the backbone of psychological resilience.

Our bodies also start to clean the by-products accumulated in the brain during sleep. For example, harmful substances present in our brains are cleared out during sleep; therefore, lack of adequate sleep can lead to the accumulative presence of toxic compound, resulting in mental health risks.

Emma’s Sleep Experts’ Advice,

It’s important to recognize that talking about mental health can help raise awareness about such a significant topic, and it can help people to feel empowered to seek help. There are multiple methods we can practice achieving good mental hygiene with sleep being one of them and it can also help to try and moderate the stressors in our life through various ways.

Stress Management Techniques

Stress is one of the most crucial triggers for mental health problems like anxiety, which can then lead to insomnia. But don’t worry, there are several scientifically-backed techniques that can help you ease your stress. Stress management techniques have indeed shown great potential in limiting its detrimental effects.

One such way is the Progressive Muscle Relaxation, a technique that involves the muscles in reducing stress. Since muscle tension is associated with anxiety, learning how to relax the muscle can show improvements. With this technique, you can start with tensing and relaxing the muscles with your eyes closed, keeping tension for around 10 second, and releasing it for 20 seconds. This can be done in sections or in muscle groups. It is also important for you to concentrate on the difference between stress and relaxation sensations so that you can fully enjoy the feeling of calmness.

Another technique is the Autogenic Training for self-relaxation. It is a technique that combines stimuli reduction, mental repetition of specific formulas, and passive concentration. To better understand this technique, think of a simple exercise that involves mentally repeating the verbal prompt 'my right arm is warm' and passively concentrating on this feeling, while triggering the visual imagery of a war arm. The idea is to proceed the same way for all body parts until you fall asleep.

The Relaxation Response is another scientifically-backed stress management technique that can be done for 10 to 20 minutes per day. The steps are simple, as it just consists of repeating a word, sound, or phrase, or, if you like, a muscle activity.

Lastly, meditation can also be done before bedtime in order to wind the mind down, and prepare the body for sleep by slowing down your breathing.

Physical Exercise

It is not a secret: physical activity is a mood booster. A recent study demonstrated that people who spent sitting more than 8 hours per day showed a higher level of anxiety and depression (two major enemies of good sleep). Those same subjects also showed an overall decreased mental well-being. The serotonin boost that people get from exercise can improve their overall mental state, especially if done consistently.

It doesn’t have to be anything too tiring as exercises like yoga, aerobics, and walking are enough to keep your brain producing good chemicals. In any case, remember not to exercise too close to the time when you go to bed. Among the substances produced are hormones and neurotransmitters with stimulating and excitatory effects that can make it difficult to fall asleep.

Better Sleep Hygiene

It is one of the norms of cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia, and among the most effective treatments for insomnia. Such measures help ensure a more robust sleep routine and help you experience your bedroom as a special place: in bed, you should do nothing but sleep and rest at most. Moreover, you should:

  • Avoid scrolling your mobile phone for hours in bed,
  • If you have a sofa, you should prefer to watch films or TV series while sitting on it and not lying on the bed,
  • If you feel that your eyes are fatigued, avoid using electronic devices (mobile phones, computers, TVs and tablets) an hour before bedtime. The blue light they emit makes it harder to fall asleep.
  • Suppose you just can’t do without electronic devices. In that case, you might consider buying glasses with lenses that block the blue light emitted. Another alternative is to set your device on filter mode to limit the emission of blue light from the screen.

It’s also helpful to have a bedroom that is conducive for sleep. Having the right room temperature can affect your sleep quality and the ideal degree varies from person to person, but most get good sleep with a cool temperature of around 70°F (21°C).

But the most important thing is certainly to feel comfortable. This means recognising the bedroom as a nest, the place where nothing can frighten you and you are constantly enveloped in a feeling of security. For this, your room must represent you as much as possible, and only then can it be a truly conducive environment for your sleep.

Sleeping on the right mattress and bedding is extremely important as well as poor bed quality can lead to various body pains and overall, lead to poor sleep quality. The right mattress – like temperature – varies depending on the user, but it’s easier to find the right kind for your with our guide and the options available on Emma UK.

World Mental Health Day

As global efforts continue to tackle mental health issues for everyone in the world - especially during this pivotal time when the majority have been affected due to the ongoing pandemic - it is vital that we take care of ourselves by sleeping better. It’s important to dedicate more time to looking after our bodies and minds to keep our mental health in good condition.

Issues concerning mental health are widespread, but there is nothing to be ashamed of. In the presence of the first symptoms and disabling sleep disorders, we recommend that you contact specialists who can help and support you.

Once you have understood the central importance of rest and its crucial link to psychological well-being, you can indulge in a few extra minutes of relaxation each day and treat yourself to a comfortable and rejuvenating night of sleep.

Better Night’s Sleep with Sunrise by Emma

Besides sleep being a critical element in our everyday lives, there’s no doubt about the benefits that comes with getting a good night’s sleep on mental health. But if you’re still curious of the possible sleep problems that can arise from mental health issues, read on with Sunrise by Emma where you can find articles related to sleep health and sleep wellness.

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How are sleep disorders diagnosed?

People with sleep disorders may have difficulty going to sleep and may feel exceedingly lethargic during the day, depending on the type of disorder. Sleep deprivation can affect your energy, mood, focus, and overall health. Sleep disorders can sometimes be an indication or symptom of another medical or mental health concern. Once the underlying cause is identified and treated, the sleeping issues may go away. If you feel you have a sleep disordercondition, it's critical to get a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. The negative effects of sleep disturbances might lead to further negative health implications if they are not managed.

How are sleep disorders diagnosed?

People with sleep disorders may have difficulty going to sleep and may feel exceedingly lethargic during the day, depending on the type of disorder. Sleep deprivation can affect your energy, mood, focus, and overall health. Sleep disorders can sometimes be an indication or symptom of another medical or mental health concern. Once the underlying cause is identified and treated, the sleeping issues may go away. If you feel you have a sleep disordercondition, it's critical to get a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. The negative effects of sleep disturbances might lead to further negative health implications if they are not managed.

Sleep Meditation: Secret to Better Sleep

Have you ever experienced trouble in falling asleep?  You close your eyes but your mind keeps spinning so you cannot fall asleep? Well, sometimes our minds just won’t stop bothering us – and that’s where meditation can help. To fall asleep, our body and mind need to calm down and relax. Sounds simple, right? However, many people find this utterly difficult to do. Meditation, as a relaxation technique, may help you to quiet your body and mind while enhancing inner peace and balance. This is especially useful when you start focusing on worrisome thoughts at night in bed a time when you are not as easily distracted by other things as during the day.

Sleep Meditation: Secret to Better Sleep

Have you ever experienced trouble in falling asleep?  You close your eyes but your mind keeps spinning so you cannot fall asleep? Well, sometimes our minds just won’t stop bothering us – and that’s where meditation can help. To fall asleep, our body and mind need to calm down and relax. Sounds simple, right? However, many people find this utterly difficult to do. Meditation, as a relaxation technique, may help you to quiet your body and mind while enhancing inner peace and balance. This is especially useful when you start focusing on worrisome thoughts at night in bed a time when you are not as easily distracted by other things as during the day.

Exercise and sleep: the connection

Despite widespread agreement that getting enough sleep and exercising regularly is essential for good health, these habits are frequently overlooked in the average lifestyle. Sleep deprivation is common among adults, but there are ways in which you can counteract the sluggishness feeling after a rough night’s sleep.     One of them is to establish an exercise routine that works for you - this might involve exercising before bed, or in the morning when you wake up. But does exercise before bed help you sleep? Let’s delve further into the connection between exercise and sleep.

Exercise and sleep: the connection

Despite widespread agreement that getting enough sleep and exercising regularly is essential for good health, these habits are frequently overlooked in the average lifestyle. Sleep deprivation is common among adults, but there are ways in which you can counteract the sluggishness feeling after a rough night’s sleep.     One of them is to establish an exercise routine that works for you - this might involve exercising before bed, or in the morning when you wake up. But does exercise before bed help you sleep? Let’s delve further into the connection between exercise and sleep.

The Role of Technology in Helping and Hurting Your Sleep

We’ve all heard claims of how technology has interfered with our ability to sleep well. Many say that the light from the screens hurt our ability to sleep quickly and deeply, while others say that the distraction that technology frequently creates hurts sleep quality. While some of these claims are true, simply saying that tech is bad for sleep is false! After all, technology encompasses so many different devices than the typical laptop or phone. Other technologies out there exist that are created to facilitate better sleep!

The Role of Technology in Helping and Hurting Your Sleep

We’ve all heard claims of how technology has interfered with our ability to sleep well. Many say that the light from the screens hurt our ability to sleep quickly and deeply, while others say that the distraction that technology frequently creates hurts sleep quality. While some of these claims are true, simply saying that tech is bad for sleep is false! After all, technology encompasses so many different devices than the typical laptop or phone. Other technologies out there exist that are created to facilitate better sleep!