Poor Sleep Exacerbates Mental Health Issues. Even poor sleep itself can become a source of stress. Poor sleep can exacerbate some mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.
How do poor sleep affect your mood and energy level?
One way poor sleep can affect your mood and energy level is by affecting brain activity. In a 2015 study, University of California-Berkeley researchers found that when someone is severely sleep deprived, their brain activity is about one-fifth lower than it is when rested. Poor sleep may also have other effects on your mood such as feelings of depression. Poor sleep may also be associated with higher levels of anxiety, which means this doesn’t just affect your mood when you’re sleeping, but also your overall energy level.
How can I get more rest?
Many people think they can get more sleep by reducing the amount of sleep that they get, but there are many reasons for not getting enough sleep, such as too many obligations, sleep deprivation from having kids, or having chronic health problems that require the ability to rest.
In order to help you improve your sleep habits, here are some helpful ways to get more rest:
Keep a sleep diary
While not necessary, keeping a sleep diary can help you track the quality of your sleep and how much time you spend in bed, so you can take steps to improve your sleep.
When you can, try taking walks
Running or swimming in the pool or a sauna is one of the best ways to get fresh air into your bedroom every day.
Try taking up a new hobby
One of the most overlooked and most rewarding things you can do for your sleep is to go out and play a game of board or card games. Try something light like Settlers of Catan or Monopoly or learn a new skill through play like playing the board game Risk.
Eat more nutritious foods
Eating a balanced diet will help increase your nutrient intake and improve your quality of sleep. For example, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that eating a diet of about 2,500 to 2,900 calories per day can provide up to 8.1 additional hours of sleep.
Use a pill to increase your sleep
Some people find that using a sleeping pill to increase their sleep time makes their bedtime easier. Most people use them on the weekend, but sometimes they can be used as a regular nightcap at home.
Make time for sleep
A 2012 study in the Journal of Sleep Research found that the longer someone spends awake in the middle of the night, the worse their sleep quality is.
Make sure you have enough time for sleep
Some people find it helpful to make sure they have enough time for sleep, since having too little time in bed has been linked to increased risk for stress and insomnia.
If you want to sleep more, try these strategies
- Get an extra hour of sleep with a full night’s sleep.
- Get up and go to bed at a more consistent time.
- Set a bedtime of 7:30 pm in your bedroom.
- Choose a time when you’re not likely to have to leave the bed.
- Make time for sleep at least half an hour earlier than your bedtime and set yourself an hour to wake up.
- Wake up earlier and give yourself about an hour or more to get out of bed.
- Make sure you have a lot of bedtime relaxation time.
- Get more rest from bedtime.
Don’t give up trying to sleep. There are many ways to improve your sleep quality and you may find some of them helpful. For example, try these tips:
- Take breaks to exercise.
- Watch TV or movie.
- Sleep on your side.
- Watch a video, read a book, or talk to a friend.
- Try out a new medication.
If you need sleep counseling, you can contact a licensed professional or seek treatment with a sleep expert on the National Sleep Foundation.