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October 10, 2019

Sleep and mental health

Sleep and mental health have a strong relationship. Living with a mental health problem can affect how well you sleep, and vice versa, poor sleep can have a negative impact on your mental health too. When you’re extremely tired this not only affects your physical health, but seriously impacts your mental health too. Studies suggest that we are supposed to get 7-9 hours of quality sleep per 24 hours. When this doesn’t happen, it affects our whole outlook on life, energy level, motivation, and our emotions.

When we sleep, every 90 minutes, a normal sleeper cycles between two major categories of sleep. ‘Quiet’ sleep progresses through four stages of increasingly deep sleep. Our body temperature drops, muscles relax and our heart rate slows. An important benefit of this is that it helps boost the immune system functioning. The other sleep category is Rapid Eye Movement (REM), this is when we dream. During REM, our physiological state remains the same as when we are awake, and this type of sleep enhances learning and memory and contributes to emotional health.

When either of these types of sleep are disrupted, our levels of neurotransmitters and stress hormones have a massive impact on our brain and emotional regulation. Here are some suggestions we at Rise & Fall found on mind.org.uk and recommend to try and sleep better:
Establishing a routine within your life
Relax before you go to bed, come up with relaxation techniques that work for you
Physical activity
Make sure your bed is comfortable
Do not go on your phone one hour before bed and as long as possible after you wake up

On a final note, whilst these are all good ideas and helpful, sometimes more help is required. 

Please contact these numbers if you are struggling with your mental health and need to speak to someone in the UK. It’s okay not to be okay.
Samaritans
116 123
www.samaritans.org

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) for men
0800 58 58 58
www.thecalmzone.net

Childline - for under 19s
0800 11 11
www.childline.org

 

Sources:
sleepfoundation.org
mind.org.uk
health.harvard.edu

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