A good night’s sleep doesn’t just mean lots of it, it means the right kind of sleep. If we cooperate with our sleep, we cooperate with our mood, performance and our interpersonal relationships. There can be some very negative effects of sleep deprivation. Ongoing lack of sleep can be a huge risk factor for the development of low mood, anxiety, irritability or depression. The increase of insomnia can also make worse existing anxiety and depression.
The lack of sleep can also affect our cognitive functioning and performance making us more forgetful and slowing thinking than normal. Furthermore, it can cause damage to our immune system, leading to many physical issues. So, it is important to identify and solve sleep problems as soon as they are recognised.
There are four main elements that can influence the quality of your sleep. By improving your sleeping habits, you will in turn have a better mental health:
HEAL – The four pillars of good sleep.
If you are feeling ill or run down, it can be very difficult to get a good night’s sleep. It’s best to seek advice from your GP or pharmacist about appropriate medication that can help if you are suffering from any long-term ailments.
The bedroom should be a place that we relate to sleep. You should try to ensure that you have a comfortable bed and bedroom – noise, light and temperature should be tailored to your preferences. For example, too much light or noise can keep you awake. You should also avoid using electronic devices at night such as computers, phones and TVs. The bright light of electronic gadgets can be too stimulating and prevent you from falling asleep. The display of these lights affects the melatonin hormone that supports you sleep. So, it is recommended that you stop using these devices at least two hours before you go to sleep.
Worry can keep a lot of people awake, particularly if you have something stressful the next day. Progressive relaxation techniques can help you to chill out and unwind at these stressful times.
Regular daily exercise is meant to help us sleep as it can aid reduce stress and anxiety levels. However, it is recommended not to exercise late in the evening as this could be stimulating. Exercising earlier in the day is better. You should avoid drinking too much liquids in the evening to minimise chances of waking to empty your bladder. Although alcohol can make you feel tired and initially help you to fall asleep, it can affect the quality of sleep. It is also important to get better sleep to limit the use of stimulants like caffeine, chocolate or nicotine near the bedtime because they can keep you awake.
British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association
Some great online tests that can help you find help if you having issues sleeping.
Telephone: 01737 245638
Mental Health Foundation
Your local GP
If you continue to be concerned about the amount and quality of sleep you are having, and the effects it is having on other aspects of your life, you should speak to your GP, who will be able to help and provide further guidance and support.
We take mental health seriously at eXPD8 and feel it is important to raise awareness. We have Mental Health Ambassadors on-site who are always available to help. For more information on how we manage mental health in the workplace, check out this blog.