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6Aug

There’s a close relationship between sleep and mental health. Lack of sleep can affect mental health but mental health problems can also affect how well you sleep – both the quantity and the quality of it – so it’s extremely important to address both issues.

One area in particular that causes disturbed sleep is stress and worry. Our research found that many of us are too anxious to sleep: nearly half of the respondents said that stress or worry keeps them awake at night (45%) rising to 50% of women (compared to 39% of men) and 58% of those in a relationship.

Pressures of illness, uncertainty and the burden of responsibility often lead to stress and worry. Not only that but many of us lead very stressful working lives and with the onslaught of technology, scientists claim that many people are struggling with an information overload caused by the blurring of boundaries between work and home. It seems people don’t understand that they don’t have to be ‘available’ 24 hours a day. This in turn can affect mental health and wellbeing. In fact, sleep problems are a key indicator of declining mental health.

Poor sleep quality also affects mood, so if you spot a change in an employee, a friend or family member’s behaviour and attitude then try talking to them. These changes in mood can be minor or they may be a more serious mental health issue and it’s important to be conscious of this.

Those who don’t sleep well because of health issues often look to medication and drinking alcohol to try and get a better night’s sleep – not the best solutions. Many also turn to more natural, alternative or self-help solutions – from meditation and homeopathy to sleep advice lines and sleep clinics to cognitive behavioural therapy courses. Often people neglect the obvious basics such as a good sleep-orientated environment, a comfortable bed and proper bedtime wind down routines.

It can also help for people to write down what’s worrying them or talk through their issues with someone – unburdening thoughts can lift a huge weight off someone’s shoulders. Advice on ways to relax is also useful – meditation is a great tool for relaxing body and mind.

Exercise (but not too close to bedtime) can also aid better quality sleep and lower body temperature which also induces sleep. It improves heart health and blood pressure; builds and strengthens bone and muscle; helps combat stress; helps improve mood; and it helps you look and feel better.

For more information visit www.sleepcouncil.org.uk

  

Sleep Council

Lisa is a qualified children’s sleep practitioner and experienced sleep advisor, and has worked in the realm of sleep for more than eight years. Heading up the day to day running of The Sleep Council, Lisa has a passionate interest in sleep, how it affects health and wellbeing and is campaigning for sleep to be taken seriously on the Public Health agenda. She shares advice and tips through the Sleep Council website, on the radio and at workshops/events and plays a proactive role in awareness raising campaigns. The Sleep Council has been established for more than 20 years and is an impartial advisory organisation that raises the awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleep to health and wellbeing and provides helpful advice and tips on how to improve sleep quality and create the perfect sleep environment.

11 Responses to Look After Your Mental Health With A Good Night’s Sleep

  1. An interesting and thought provoking read.

  2. firoz jariya

    I HAVE MEDICAL CONDITION, OESTEO ARTHRITIS, RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS, FIBROMYALGIA AND DEPRESSION AND DUE TO THE MEDICAL PROBLEM FROM LAST 7 YEARS I GET VERY LITTLE SLEEP ABOUT 5 HOURS OR LESS, I WAKE UP BETWEEN 2.30 TO 3 AM IN THE MORNING EVERY DAY AND FEEL TIRED, FRUSTRATED.

    • Sorry to hear that Firoz. Due to the number of medical conditions that you are presenting, I would highly suggest you need to speak to your GP about the lack of sleep you are experiencing – they may be able to refer you to a sleep clinic or offer CBTi. There could be a number of reasons why you are waking at this time – everything from the medication, to your medical conditions etc. I hope this helps.

  3. Christopher Mark Lewis

    I suffer from chronic tinnitus which has destroyed my career and sleep, the only reason I have not finished it is because I have a lovely fiancée, daughter and family, I have tried everything to no avail, I had a good job but due to lack of sleep could not handle the stress and energy needed so became a gardener and decorator, being self employed allows me to work when I can or do less hours in the day before I collapse exhausted at home, hate the tinnitus, choice between million pounds and getting rid of it, I would get rid of tinnitus all day long.

    • Hi Christopher, I am sorry to hear that. Have you been put in touch with any support groups with other tinnitus sufferers? I know the Tinnitus Association has links https://www.tinnitus.org.uk/find-a-support-group It’s not uncommon for people with tinnitus to have difficulty sleeping – and it’s a vicious circle as tinnitus interferes with sleep but lack of sleep can aggravate tinnitus. While most people need a quiet bedroom for sleep, you may find you benefit from using white noise or pink noise to help? Being relaxed helps with tinnitus so do try to do some meditation, mindfulness or other relaxation exercises before bed. You should consider going back to your GP who may be able to refer you for some cognitive behavioural therapy.

  4. Meg

    I used to be a shift worker, then I had three children, I still drop off to sleep in the afternoons and evening because I am tired, but cant stay asleep. Two to three hours of complete unconsciousness and then awake and drowsing. I usually sleep properly one night in five. As I am retired and the children have long gone it doesnt matter any more although it is relatively annoying.As for exercise, around four hours dog walking a day another couple of hours gardening, swimming a couple of times a week and because I have no car I have to walk to get shopping etc. Why I still dont sleep I have no idea but thats life

    • Hi Meg, it sounds like your habits from shift working have stayed with you. Once habits are formed, it takes some very strict controlled measures to break those habits and form news. There’s something called Sleep Restriction which is for insomnia which may be beneficial for you – however it has to be practised under a professional. It may be worth speaking to your GP about being referred.

  5. Patricia Roberts

    I suffer from tinnitus and have consulted my GP who has told me there is nothing that can be done. Certain measures ie. Music, radio etc under your pillow can help but if you are unfortunate to have a pacemaker this is not an option. Some times when I have been able to get some sleep i am jerked awake by this awful raucous noise in my head. Help.

  6. Janie

    I have rheumatoid arthritis and lupus – hence a lot of pain, chronic tinnitus that nearly drives me insane it’s so loud, and general anxiety disorder, so things that would be minor niggles to most are all-consuming worries to me. Also my husband has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease,so that’s an additional worry on top of all the others. I have no other family or friends apart from my husband, so no-one to unburden to, and I find I’m lying awake staring at the ceiling until well after 04:00 most nights.

    Some years back the GP gave me Temazepam, but it didn’t help, just made me even more of a zombie the next day.

    I’ve tried all the usual – hot milky drink, lavender room spray, hop pillow, meditation, passiflora tablets, valerian tablets – nothing helps. At my wits’ end now.

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