We all know how refreshing a good sleep can be. We’ve all had those mornings when we wake up and feel ready to take on the day, mainly because we’ve slept well the night before. Sleep affects almost every single aspect of our lives, helping us feel more alert, relaxed and motivated. There is a lot of research linking mental health to good sleep patterns, and we all know how much a bad night’s sleep can impact our mood. But do you know all the potential benefits of a good night’s sleep?
Sleep And Mental Health
The link between sleep and mental health is something that has been studied a lot over the years. It’s been proven that an ongoing lack of sleep can lead to sleep deprivation, which can leave you feeling tired and frustrated, impacting your health, motivation, and performance. One night’s bad sleep isn’t going to have such a drastic effect – but bad sleep consistently can start to take a real toll on your mental and physical health.
When we don’t get enough sleep, it can drastically reduce cognitive brain function, problem-solving skills and your ability to cope with stressful situations. This leaves you feeling overwhelmed by daily life and unable to cope with stressful situations. If you’ve ever felt so tired you just want to cry, then you know exactly how this feels. Low-quality sleep has also been linked to weight gain and reduced immunity, making you more susceptible to bugs and other health issues. Lack of sleep can also trigger emotional feelings like anxiety, anger, fear and depression, which in turn just make the sleep struggles worse and can even lead to insomnia. Part of this is because the REM phase of sleep is essential for memory, learning and processing the events of the day, before storing them in long term memory. It is also the time the brain replenishes helpful hormones like dopamine and serotonin, which makes us feel good and gives us an energy boost. If you’re struggling to get enough REM sleep, then your body will be lower in these happy hormones, and you will struggle with negative thoughts and feelings.
Practice Being Positive
Your brain triggers thousands of different neurons with every thought. These neurons combine to form a neural network – and repeating the same thought process over and over forges distinctive paths through that neural network. This leads to what we call our ‘default thought patterns’, which can either be positive or negative. When we make a conscious effort to recognise the positive things in life, we build new and helpful thought patterns and ultimately adjust our outlook on life. This process of positive thinking can help reduce anxiety and negative thoughts, promoting good sleep.
Good sleep hygiene is incredibly important to the quality of your sleep, yet it’s not really something a lot of people have heard of. Sleep hygiene essentially means the practices needed by your body to have a good night’s sleep. Bad sleep hygiene can cause restlessness, difficulty achieving REM sleep or even insomnia, so it’s important to try and get into some good habits. Thankfully, this doesn’t require big changes! By making some simple adjustments to your routine, such as reducing your caffeine consumption in the evening, limiting screen time before bed, sticking to a regular bedtime and exercising regularly, you can see a big difference in the quality of your sleep.
Create Your Bedtime Routine
Children aren’t the only ones who need routines in order to function well. Our brains work on patterns, and will respond to familiar patterns in familiar ways. By creating a bedtime routine that you follow every night, you will start to send signals to your brain that it is time for sleep, and it will respond by releasing the right hormones to help you drift off more easily. A routine allows you to relax and switch off from the digital world and will also help clear your mind. Everyone’s bedtime routine is different, so try to find something that works for you. Maybe take a bath, meditate, or read a book. Listen to a relaxation audio track or some calming music, or just drink your cup of hot chocolate in bed with a good book.
If you’re struggling to sleep, then solution focussed hypnotherapy could help. Hypnotherapy has been proven to be a very effective method of tackling the underlying issues that lead to sleep deprivation, helping you achieve regular high-quality sleep again. Not only that, but it’s a positive and enjoyable process that helps overcome the underlying anxiety or habits that may be contributing to poor sleep, which in turn improves your sleeping patterns and provides the support you need to make that a lasting positive change. To find out more, just get in touch with us today.