Research suggests that some form of sleep disruption is present in nearly all psychiatric disorders, including routine stress. In some instances, sleep problems directly contribute to poor mental health, meaning that patients struggling to treat their anxiety may respond better to traditional methods for promoting sleep. In fact, sleep affects nearly everything we do. By developing a concise bedtime routine, we can enable our bodies to perform better during the day and prepare ourselves to cope with periods of high stress.
Look At The Root Causes
When you aren’t getting enough sleep, it’s time to identify the root causes of your stressors that inhibit regular sleeping patterns. Many individuals struggle to adjust their sleep routine when sharing a bed with their partner, especially if your partner’s schedule differs drastically from your own. Emerging research also suggests that blue lights from smartphones play a role in keeping us alert and awake at night, which is why physicians recommend sleeping without your phone in arm’s reach. Sometimes, the solution is as simple as using earplugs and an eye mask to block out external stimulation disturbing sleep, but in order to obtain a treatment method it’s important that you think closely about what’s preventing you from getting enough rest.
What is Sleep Hygiene?
Sleep hygiene is a variety of different practices and routines that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality without medication. To improve the quality of your sleep, experts recommend giving yourself a half hour to “unwind” before bed without looking at your smartphone, which can stimulate alertness. You should also limit daytime naps to 30 minutes: any longer and it’s likely that your nightly sleeping schedule will be offset by too much rest. For persons with highly erratic sleep schedules, keeping a sleep calendar is a good way to monitor your sleep levels as your work towards achieving stability. You can show your sleep calendar to your physician to help develop a treatment plan that revolves around your individual needs.
Staying Alert During The Day
In order to adjust to a routine of unwinding at night, it’s important that you get enough exercise during the day so that your body feels fatigued and ready for down time once it’s time for bed. Exercise, particularly aerobic exercise such as running, cycling, or even brisk walking, is proven highly effective in reducing stress levels by pumping the body with endorphins. However, it’s important to schedule your work out in at least several hours before you plan on going to bed, as the so-called “runner’s high” from doing cardio can keep you alert and awake at night.
Treating a sleep disorder is a good option for mental health patients looking to avoid psychiatric medication while getting their daily and nightly rhythm back on track. As you gradually fall into a healthy sleep routine, you will begin to see positive results in all aspects of daily life, including physical and mental health symptoms caused by high stress.
Guest post by Writing Jackie