2016 · why maintaining your mental health is just as important as your physical health

Why maintaining your mental health is as important as maintaining your physical health: sleep 

Hello, as you may know Thursday was world health day.The main focus this year of world health day was diabetes. Although this was the main focus the overall topic was still about looking after yourself.This has inspired me to start up a series on here about why maintaining  you mental health is just as important as looking after your physical health. On the second Sunday of each month I am going to speak about a different aspect or way you can maintain good mental health.Today I’m going to discuss the topic of sleep.

There is a huge link between mental Heath and sleep.sleep is needed for your body to have time to heal and rest. It’s recommended that we should have 9 hours of sleep each night although we can cope on 6.It’s estimated that we sleep 90 minutes less every night than in the 1920’s. This could be due the increase in distractions and technology we have now.

We all know how it feels to miss a nights sleep over maybe being ill or just not being able to sleep but you feel exhausted the next day.This is okay every so often but over a long period of time sleep problems could lead to more serious mental health issues.For example if you aren’t getting enough sleep you will be tired which can make everyday tasks difficult.your overall mood would be down which may cause your self esteem to lower.This could cause your mental health to deteriorate and could lead to you feeling socially isolated or even develop a disorder such as anxiety or depression.Insomnia is the most common mental health disorder linked to sleep and can involve a person struggling to get to and say asleep.This can be a long term issue or can be experienced short term by a change of environment or stress.

Making sure you get the best nights sleep starts in the daytime.You should make sure you go outside in daylight hours as the sunlight helps to stabilise your body’s sleep cycle and internal clock.You should also attempt to limit to caffeine intake. As I’m sure you know caffeine is a stimulant which will make you feel more awake so if you have a high caffeine intake you may find you are having trouble sleeping therefore you should aim to cut down on coffee and drinks such as Coca Cola.

The hours before bed are also really important in making sure you have a good nights sleep.Allow yourself to have time to think about things that may be concerning you a couple of hours before you go to bed, you may even want to write them down.This will mean you are less likely to be thinking about them when trying to go to sleep. Allow your self an hour or even just 30 minutes to unwind.This could be reading a book or listening to music. Try not to use your phone/tablet or laptop in this time.If you do and you have an I phone I recommend using night shift mode as it isn’t so bright and used warmer tones.

Now to the actual sleep bit.You should sleep only in your bedroom and not any other room in your house.Slepping in an actual bed will give you better support and comfort and means you will have more chance of sleeping through the night.Keeping your room dark is important.Try to block out as much light as possible using curtains and blinds. If you are still finding light a problem maybe consider using a sleep mask.If you find sound a distraction wear earplugs or if that still doesn’t work possibly listen to white noise this should help to block out a lot of background noise.If you are still having trouble sleeping after a while of tossing and tuning then don’t try and force yourself to sleep. Wake up get out of your bed and read a book. When you then start to feel tired again go back to bed and try to sleep. Meditation is also a good way to fall asleep try different breathing techniques that will help you fall into a deep sleep for example the 4-7-8 breathing exercise here is how you do it.

Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.

Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.

Hold your breath for a count of seven.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
You can read more about this technique Here.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. Like I said there is going to be a new post in this series on the second Sunday of each month. Sorry this is late as its Tuesday I have been very busy recently.

See you in my next post, byeee ☺️

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