How to Quiet the Busiest Minds for Sleep (by Cheryl Conklin)

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This blog with created originally buy Cheryl Conklin, learn more about her here.

We all need a good night’s sleep, but if you have a mental health concern, catching those elusive ZZZ’s is even more important to your well-being. Nearly all learning, mood, and personality disorders are linked with insomnia. Moreover, some aspects of treatment can actually exacerbate sleep issues. 

Here’s a look at how people facing these challenges can achieve a great night’s sleep. 

Consider Sleep Environment

Your first step should be evaluating your sleep environment. There are plenty of items many of us have in our rooms that are not conducive to restful sleep. For example, Curbly notes all electronics should stay out of the sleep space – and that includes a television. Many people think the TV is a key to relaxation, but people who fall asleep while watching TV don’t transition as easily into the (vital) deeper sleep stages. 

If you absolutely have to have a computer in your room, try to set up some kind of partition so it’s not visible from your bed. Keep everything else in another room.

You should also consider whether or not your mattress needs an upgrade. Mattresses degrade over time, so check yours for sags and other signs it has reached the end of its lifespan. If you’re due for a replacement, consider memory foam – especially if you sleep with a partner. Since they don’t transfer movement as easily, you’re less likely to be awakened by your bedmate rolling around. There’s a wide range of options to fit all budgets – just search around for the mattress that’s best for you.

Check Meds

If you’re having lots of trouble sleeping every night, it could be worth checking out your meds to see if sleep issues are a side effect. Many medicines, such as those for depression or anxiety, can cause you to have issues quieting your mind to go to bed.

If this might be the case, talk to your doctor. You may be able to find ways to reduce sleep issues, such as taking your meds at a different time of day. It may also be a sign that you’re responding well to this particular medication, and it may be time to try something else to find the perfect fit.

Address Lifestyle

An overall healthy lifestyle can go a long way toward supporting strong mental health and a good night’s sleep. For example, daily exercise reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression that can keep you up at night. Eating a balanced diet, such as we recommend at HueTrition, helps as well. Not only will you ensure your body gets the nutrients it needs, but you’ll also know you’re not eating heavy meals late at night, which may disrupt sleep cycles.

You should also avoid sleep-harming lifestyle choices, such as frequent drinking or smoking at all. Anything that harms your body can harm your sleep: focus on making healthy choices every day.

Meditate

Finally, if you’re having trouble quieting your mind in the moment, consider practicing meditation. There are several forms of mindfulness meditation that can help with sleep. For example, you can try progressive muscle relaxation. You can also try a form of mindfulness where you focus your mind on the pauses between breathing in and breathing out.

These meditations allow you to gently turn the mind away from stressful or maladaptive thought patterns. Not only can this relieve insomnia while it’s happening, but it can also retrain your brain to stay focused on the moment more often. 

Sleep helps us to stay mentally healthy, but without it, it’s easy to fall into a self-defeating pattern. Look at your environment, medications, and daily choices to see how they might be impacting your slumber. Approach sleep and mental health from both sides, and you should find that you can get the rest you need to thrive.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

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