Author: Racheal Mosimann
“Five more minutes” is something that we have all thought first thing in the morning at one point or another. Pressing the snooze button for the third time that morning to get in the extra minutes. The feeling of heavy eyes and drowsiness consuming the first part of your day. You begin to think to yourself that you’ll make it a point to go to bed early that night as to not wake up so miserable the next morning, but find yourself repeating the same pattern anyway. It might seem that it’s no big deal. After all, it’s just being tired. However, we often fail to think about the effects of poor sleep hygiene.
It has been said that being awake for 16 straight hours can hinder your performance as much as if your blood alcohol level were .05% (legal limit is .08%). So if you’re wondering why you’re unable to focus on that article or why your dog is starting to look more like a horse, think back to the previous night’s sleep.
Not getting a good night’s sleep can have a negative impact on a person’s overall well-being, including their mental health. Lack of sleep can increase symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, memory loss, and depression. A person who hardly struggles with anxiety might find themselves feeling overly anxious after sleeping poorly the night before. Of course one bad night’s sleep may not be something to worry about, but it is definitely something to take into account if you’re feeling mentally abnormal.
Mental health symptoms can also decrease a person’s ability to sleep or sleep thoroughly. Racing thoughts, feeling overwhelmed, or hearing things that aren’t there are all examples of symptoms that can hinder a person’s ability to sleep. It has been found that 50%-90% of individuals with anxiety and depression have sleep concerns. Although it might feel hopeless as you’re experiencing these sleep concerns, know that there are actions you can take to improve your sleep hygiene.
In our day and age, there is plenty of research on sleep that can help a person improve their own sleeping habits or hygiene. If counting sheep and a warm cup of milk isn’t working for you, consider other healthy options to improve your sleep. One of the most common ways to improve sleep hygiene is to obtain and maintain healthy daily routine. Going to bed at the same time every night and waking up around the same time every morning can train your body to start sleeping and waking at those times. Other ideas might include daily exercise, avoid electronics before bed, develop a nighttime routine or avoid caffeine in the evening. If you find that you need external support, there are options such as medication and therapy.
Everyone struggles with sleep issues every now and again. However, if you find yourself going through every day wishing you were in bed, please reach out for support. You are not alone. There is help.
If you feel that your mental health is affecting your ability to sleep, contact Valeo Behavioral Health Care at 785-233-1730.