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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Nack

The impact of sleep on mental health.

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

There has been extensive research on the relationship between sleep and mental health, and it has shown that there is a strong link between them. While it is quite difficult to prove causation in research, there is a clear correlation between sleep quality and mental health (Scott et al., 2017). Depression has been the mental health focus of much of this research. There is more evidence supporting poor sleep preceding depression rather than the other way around. Other studies have found good sleep to be a good promoter of subjective well-being. There are some theories on sleep that posit that the role of sleep allows for better stress management and emotion regulation through the provision of energy (Peach et al., 2016).

So what does this mean? The routines that people get into can play a role in sleep quality, and it is possible to change these routines in order to see improvements in mental wellbeing.. Having good sleep hygiene involves developing healthy habits around sleep that will improve sleep quality. Do you like to stay up and watch videos on your phone before bed? Do you eat a big meal right before bed? Some habits such as these may be making it difficult for you to fall asleep or stay asleep. You may have heard some of these tips, but here is a list of habits that can improve the quality of your sleep (American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 2020):

  • Plan your bedtime so that it is possible for you to get 7–8 hours of sleep

  • Don’t try to sleep if you are not tired

  • If you are not asleep after 20 minutes of laying in bed, do some quiet activity that does not involve heavy light exposure, make sure this does not involve electronics.

  • Make a bedtime routine that relaxes you

  • Don’t use your bed for things other than sex and sleep

  • Stay away from bright lighting before bed

  • Be off electronic devices half an hour before you intend to sleep

  • Eat a light snack before bed if you are hungry. Stay away from eating a big meal.

  • Exercise regularly and eat healthy foods

  • Avoid caffeine consumption after the morning has passed

  • Stay away from alcohol consumption around bedtime

  • Drink less fluids as bedtime approaches

Do you think you can make a routine that includes some of these tips? If you can make one and stick to it, you may find yourself surprised by the results.


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