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How to Boost Your Mental Health by Improving Your Sleep Habits

Updated: Oct 28

Research has concluded there is a connection between good sleep and good mental health. However, mental health conditions can make it difficult to get good sleep. At the same time, sleeping poorly can raise your stress and anxiety levels. Because there’s such a strong connection between sleep and mental health, it’s crucial to find ways to maintain good sleep habits. Luckily, there are many things you can do at home that don’t require medical intervention.



Improve Your Sleep Through Exercise

One of the easiest ways to get a better night’s sleep is to get in the habit of exercising. Here are a few tips.

● Exercise can make you physically tired, but it can also reduce stress that keeps you up

● Yoga and meditation are great to do right before bed, as both help you deeply relax

● Intense workouts may actually inhibit sleep if you don’t leave time to unwind afterwards


Pay Attention to Diet

In addition to exercising, eating the right foods can significantly improve your sleep. Here are a few things you may want to add to your diet, as well as a few you might want to limit -- at least before bed.

● Coffee, soda and other caffeinated beverages should be avoided a few hours before bed. Similarly, alcohol can make it hard to get a restful night’s sleep.

● Instead of having a night cap, drink an herbal tea that aids relaxation and helps you sleep

● Certain foods can help you sleep better (yogurt, bananas, honey, nuts, eggs, white rice)

● Even if you eat foods that help you sleep, you may not want to eat too close to bedtime


Control Sources of Stress

While diet and exercise can have a profound effect on your mental health -- and therefore your sleep quality -- there’s more to it than that. Here are a few ideas for improving your sleep by stopping stress at the source.

● If you are struggling with your mental health, counseling and medications can help treat anxiety and depression

● Finding techniques to stop thinking about work at the end of the day can help you relax

● Similarly, reducing clutter throughout your home may boost your mental health and give you a more positive outlook.


Healthy Sleeping Habits

Focusing on healthy sleeping habits can greatly improve your quality of sleep. Focus on these four things each night:

1. Create a bedtime routine, keep it consistent, keep it simple (brush your teeth, wash your face, put on pajamas)

2. Practice winding down for 30 minutes (meditation, stretching, soft music)

3. Keep your room dark, otherwise you may inhibit melatonin production which is key to healthy sleep

4. No electronics for 30-60 minutes before bed


Sleeping well is critical for your overall health and wellbeing. If you’re finding it difficult to consistently get a good night’s sleep, it might be time to try some new techniques. Luckily, there are many effective home remedies such as exercising more, changing your diet or even removing sources of stress in your home.


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© Amanda Farrell, PMHNP- BC, 2018