Feeling down or grumpy, but don’t know why? When was the last time you actually had a good night’s rest? A lot of what you are feeling could be down to lack of good sleep. A good night’s rest is as important to your well-being as food, drink and the air that you breathe.
Studies have shown that even partial sleep deprivation has a significant effect on mood. Researchers found that people who were limited to only 4.5 hours of sleep a night for one week reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. When they get back to normal sleep routine, they soon reported a dramatic improvement in mood.
It makes sense to link depression and poor sleep. After all, worrying thoughts are a symptom of depression and overthinking can play havoc with sleep. It is a vicious circle – worrying leads to poor sleep and poor sleep leads to tiredness and feelings of stress.
It can be quite tricky to identify the exact link between depression and poor sleep, but recent research suggests that depression often comes after a period of disturbed sleep.
Here are 5 tips to help you get good sleep. You may need to try a few different things before you find what works for you.
1. Establish a routine
Waking up at the same time and going to bed at roughly the same time each day can really help to prepare your brain and body for sleep.
Keeping a regular sleep schedule (even on weekends) keeps the timing of the body’s internal clock and can help you fall asleep and wake up more easily.
2. Try a pre-bedtime relaxation routine
Try to make sure you do something calming and relaxing in the evening before bedtime. Having a warm bath or shower, and listening to some relaxing music is a good place to start. Gentle stretching exercises, such as a bedtime yoga routine can also help, as can breathing exercises, mindfulness and meditation.
3. Keep a sleep diary
To get a better idea of your sleep patterns and habits, it is helpful to keep a sleep diary. There could be a simple explanation to your sleep problems, such as drinking too much caffeine or alcohol. Noticing patterns will guide you to the changes you need to make to sleep better.
4. Have a technology-free bedroom
Your bedroom should be set up to provide optimum sleep. Make your bedroom an area devoted to sleep. Your bedroom should be cool, dark and quiet and without any electronic devices. Any alarm clocks should be battery powered.
5. Check your diet
Food can have a considerable effect on sleep and mood. Research carried out at Binghamton University, found that food can change your mood. The study found that eating fast food more than three times a week was linked to anxiety and depression. It was also found that eating less carbohydrate and more fruit reduced anxiety and depression.
Sleep has a strong influence to our physical and mental health. That’s why emotional sleep is a necessity, not a luxury. Your mental and emotional health – and your relationships with others, in your personal and professional life – depend on you getting plenty of high-quality rest.