Sleep Hygiene and Mental Health: Everything you need to Know
We all have tried someday to repent the lost sleep after night shifts or party weekends. Lesser do we realize that we can never recover a good night’s sleep by sleeping during the day. We’re hurting our normalized sleep schedule by doing so.
It’s not possible to sleep for more than an hour or two when we’re compensating for the sleep loss. Looking at the facts, we need 4 nights to recover one hour of lost sleep.
Sleep hygiene is something that needs our attention, just like food hygiene & other critical lifestyle issues. It’s because our mental health, immunity as well as physical health is regulated by our sleep hygiene itself.
Let’s look up some basics on sleep hygiene & the way it links to mental health.
What do you mean by sleep hygiene?
Generally saying, sleep hygiene is all about the good habits that give you sound sleep during nighttime. What we know as sleep disorders only show up if your sleep hygiene is drastically affected. If you’re consistently trying to maintain your sleep hygiene, but something keeps you from reaching your goals then it’s mandatory to get a professional’s help.
They may suggest working therapies as per your lifestyle or prescribe medicines like Modalert.
Common Terms related to Sleep Hygiene
Sleep disorder: A medical condition that is no less than an alarming situation for an individual who undergoes sleep disturbances.
Sleep debt: It means the sleep deficiency that sums up when you aren’t getting peaceful sleep for days in a row.
Sleep deprivation: You’re sleep deprived if you feel sleepy, but cannot compensate for the sleep loss due to one or other reasons. This disturbs your entire sleep schedule & you suffer from a lack of focus, excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, etc.
Circadian rhythm: It’s your internal biological clock. Our circadian rhythm is responsible for regulating our sleep schedules, productivity, and more of our routine activities.
What affects our sleep quality?
Several factors collectively influence our sleep quality including our physical behaviour, environment, diet, and nutrition, etc. If your sleep schedule is off-track, you’ll likely lose balance with other routine tasks. You may feel a lack of confidence, constant tiredness, difficulty in staying focused, etc.
Opposite to this, if you’re sleeping too much can also make you feel lethargic. The more you sleep, the more you’ll feel sleepy again. It also snatches away your concentration abilities and activeness.
In short, your sleep hygiene should be well-maintained. Excess sleep or lack of sleep can put you in an unknown troubling situation.
The Effect of Sleep on Mental Health
As discussed above, decreasing performance quality & consistent fatigue are experienced due to sleeplessness. But, these are not the only adversities you experience.
Sleep disruptions can alter your brain chemistry. This gives birth to some severe mental health disorders. Depression, anxiety, etc kick in and you don’t even know whom to blame. Insomnia triggered by depression may overlap with sleep apnea & hypersomnia. They make your living difficult & intolerable at times.
Though prescription medicines like Modvigil help you normalize your sleep schedule & improve activeness, curing takes time too.
Just like depression, anxiety is often related to poor sleep hygiene only. You’re constantly worried about a job or personal life issues. When such thoughts are churning in your mind, you don’t get enough sleep or spend sleepless nights in a row. As a result, you also experience nightmares & feel sleepy throughout the day.
If you’re reading this & realizing that this is happening to you too, don’t delay in visiting a psychiatrist.
8 Effective Strategies to Streamline Sleep & Mental Health
When you’re experiencing sleep-related disorders, the only way out is to build better sleep habits. It’s how you can mend your sleep hygiene naturally.
A layman can find it comparatively easy to turn to 9 to 5 sleep timings. But, it could be a hard practice for night-shift workers. However, it isn’t impossible to stick to a hygienic sleep routine. You can get professional’s advice whenever you think of realigning your sleep schedule. This will save you from mental health disasters that might happen otherwise.
Here are some highly effective strategies to implement for keeping sleep hygiene and mental health aligned.
- Understand your circadian rhythm & never compromise on your sleep timings. Going to bed and waking up at the same time daily will regulate a healthy sleep routine.
- Keep a considerable gap between your dinner timings & bedtime. Avoiding gastric or inflammatory food for dinner will prevent you from sleep disturbances.
- Make exercising a regular practice
- Limit your screen time by not using a smartphone or digital devices before at least 2 hours of going to bed.
- Absorb natural light during the daytime to promote activeness during the day. You’ll likely fall asleep well when you’re tired during the day.
- Watch your caffeine intake. It should be no more than 8 to 12 ounces per day.
- Avoid longer daytime naps, especially after 3 PM. Only prefer your power nap for 30 minutes.
- Install useful sleep-tracking applications & record your sleep schedule regularly. It will help you monitor your sleep hygiene.
Wrapping it up
Besides such natural therapies and nominal lifestyle changes, you can also ask your psychiatrist for pills like Waklert that improve your daytime wakefulness. Sometimes, we need such medicines to bring our sleep hygiene back on track.