How sleep in your self-care routine could affect your mental wellness
In a perfect world, everyone would start each day feeling rested. In reality, we know that is easier said than done. It is hard to get enough sleep. And, when you do you do not always feel rested.
When sleeping problems persist they can significantly affect our mental health, making it hard to participate in daily life like work, school, and social activities.
Everyone needs sleep. Sleep deprivation is real. And, when you’re juggling a family schedule, studying to ace your math test, following up on one last important email for your boss, or catching up on your best pal’s Insta Story, making time to get more sleep can feel like a low priority. But, anyone who does not have the time or does not prioritize adequate sleep can feel the effects of sleep deprivation such as difficulty concentrating, changes in mood, and fatigue. Plus, sleep deprivation has a strong link to mental illness: according to Harvard Health, more than half of adults diagnosed with depression or anxiety also have trouble sleeping.
While most pros recommend six to eight hours of sleep each night, everyone is different. Check-in with yourself to see if you if you need more sleep. Here’s how: If you’re dozing off while watching TV (even if the couple you’ve been shipping the entire season is about to get together), you’re racking up all the punch card rewards at your favorite coffee shop because you need to drink more caffeine to stay awake during the day, or you often find yourself simply feeling very tired, chances are you are not getting enough sleep.
Looking to get a little more shut eye to practice self-care? Here are a few tips that might help you out:
Stick to a schedule. Seriously, bedtimes are for everyone. A consistent schedule can help to develop a routine that prioritizes sleep in your life.
Skip the extra cup of joe. Drinking coffee that keeps you going during the day can also keep you up at night. Ditch caffeine around six to eight before you plan to sleep.
Get moving. Research shows that exercise can increase the quality of sleep you get each night. Find something you enjoy to get your heart rate going and release endorphins. Enjoy hitting the gym? Great—keep it up! If not, grab a pal and try a new yoga class, tap it back at a spin class with the perfect playlist, or take your favorite four-legged friend for a walk in the great outdoors.
Make a your bed a sanctuary. Stop scrolling on social, following up on your last email, or confirming with Netflix, “Yes, you are still watching.” Keep your bed the place where you unwind and get some shut eye.
Light up the world. Your body and brain are really smart. Natural light tells your brain that it is time to be awake. One study by PubMed found that adults who got two additional hours of bright light exposure each day also got two additional hours of sleep. So, catch more rays and more Zzzzs.
Get prepared. Schedule time before bed to unwind from the day. We’re not necessarily talking beauty vlogger grade nighttime routine tutorial (but, if that works for you—great!). Find your favorite ways to unwind (picking up a page turner, sipping on your favorite tea, or taking a hot bath) and make it part of your life—every single day.