Your Sleep Matters

Monica Younan B.A., Psychology Intern

June 18th, 2019

Have you ever wondered how your sleep may be impacting your mental health? Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for your health, both physically and mentally. It is recommended that one develops a healthy sleep hygiene in order to function properly and to develop an overall improved quality of life. Difficulty falling asleep (i.e. sleep onset insomnia), frequently waking up in the middle of the night (i.e. maintenance insomnia), oversleeping (i.e. hypersomnia) or feeling sleepy during the day, are all indicators that you may have poor sleep hygiene. Fortunately, poor sleep hygiene can be improved!

Living with a mental health problem can have an impact on your sleep. Poor sleep is often a symptom of several psychiatric problems. However, poor sleep can also negatively affect your mental health. You may notice that your sleep problems cause you to have negative thoughts, excessively worry and overthink, feel anxious or depressed, and even feel too tired to socialize leaving you isolated and lonely. Whatever your case may be, having a good night’s sleep can be possible if you incorporate some of the following strategies into your sleep hygiene.

The first thing to note is that sleep needs vary depending on one’s age, lifestyle and health. For example, 8-10 hours of sleep are recommended for individuals aged 14 to 17 years old, 7-9 hours of sleep for young adults aged 18 to 25 years old, as well as adults aged 26-64 years old. While these are recommended standards, everyone is different, and it is important to find what works best for you. If you choose to take a daytime nap, it is highly recommended to keep it between 20 and 30 minutes. This is just enough to improve your alertness and performance, without leaving you feeling groggy and tired. Before bedtime, it is important to stay away from stimulants such as nicotine and coffee as this will stimulate your brain at a time when it needs to be resting. Exercising can promote good quality of sleep, but any intense exercise should be avoided close to bedtime as well. In addition, certain foods such as spicy, heavy or fried meals, can be disruptive to your sleep and should be consumed, if case be, during the day. Finally, I suggest adopting a regular relaxing routine before bedtime such as having a warm shower or bath, or even reading a book.

If none of the above has proven effective to you, and you are still experiencing poor sleep which is affecting your mental health, Clinique PsySanté can help. It could be that you are dealing with a mental illness that needs to be addressed first, which may be causing your poor sleep. Whether it be anxiety, depression, or any other illness, Clinique PsySanté has specialized psychologists and life coaches that can assist you on the journey to getting a calming good night’s sleep.