Sleep is a bare necessity if you want to be able to power through your day without feeling like a yawning zombie. Those precious hours of slumber do more than just leave you feeling bright-eyed and energized, as it has a direct mental health connection, too. It seems that insomnia is a contributing factor to depression and other mental illnesses, as well as a huge factor in your emotions.
TalkSpace explains that “due to their fatigue, people struggle to regulate their emotions, and further negative feelings often come up as a result, leading the cycle to continue.” Sleep doesn’t come easy for everyone, though, which can lead to sluggish, grumpy, cloudy feelings. If you struggle with sleep, the following holistic tips might help.
Kick Your Mattress to the Curb
You might have chalked your sleepless nights up to just being “one of those things,” but your mattress could be the culprit. Is your bed lumpy or sagging? Does the mattress make noises when you move? Do you wake up feeling tired, and suffer with aches and pains? Has it flat out been a while since you got a new mattress? All this points to the need for a new one, but with so many on the market making various promises and guarantees, which should you choose?
Online reviews are your best friend, as they give you an honest opinion of the mattress you’re considering. For example, MySlumberYard offers a thorough review of the popular brand Purple, complete with a video, firmness test, sleep type recommendations and even mattress alternatives if Purple ends up not being the best fit for you.
Once you find a mattress you love, spritz your mattress and pillow with a sleep mist for some instant aromatherapy. Soothing herbal, spice, or floral scents can send you comfortably off to dreamland.
Cool It Down
When it comes to sleep, some of us prefer to snuggle up with a blanket, while others want minimal covers (or none at all). This preference all has to do with whether you’re a hot or cold sleeper, but no matter which category you fall into, your body naturally cools down when you fall asleep. A cool room between 60 to 67 degrees helps you fall asleep faster, but you can also use a fan, cooling pillow, or simply open the window on a cool night.
Sweat It Out
Exercising might sound like the opposite of relaxing when you’re trying to sleep, but CP Slippers explains a daily exercise routine can help tremendously when your head hits the pillow that night. How? Remember that body temperature discussed earlier? Well, after a workout your body temperature increases. As your temp comes back down a few hours later, you’ll feel relaxed and sleepy. On top of all that, exercise can improve the quality and quantity of sleep as well, thanks to your depleted energy.
Dr. William Dikel notes physical and mental health have a connection, too. For example, exercise builds muscle and improves overall health, but the release of feel-good endorphins is similar to that of an antidepressant. What’s more, being in good mental health can make you feel happy and energized, both of which contribute to the desire to want to workout and take care of yourself.
Create a Relaxing Routine
Laying in your bed surfing on your phone or playing one of your apps might be relaxing, but this sort of bedtime routine is detrimental to your sleep. The blue light from your phone disturbs your body’s sleep-wake cycle, slowing the release of melatonin (the hormone your body produces to help you sleep), making it take even longer for you to fall asleep. You then falsely believe you aren’t sleepy, and play on your phone even longer.
Turn off the electronics an hour before bed and incorporate relaxing activities into your bedtime ritual such as a warm bath, reading, or yoga. Another idea is to try journaling before bed to clear your mind of the day’s stressors, or write out your to-do list so you can shut your brain off. Making some notes can be surprisingly cathartic, and you’ll sleep better as a result.
When your sleep suffers, so does your mental health. Thankfully, there are natural ways to get the shuteye you’re after. Update your mattress, drop the temp down low, exercise, and find a relaxing bedtime routine for natural sleep, and a mental health boost to boot!