Growing up I remember all I wanted to do was stay up late. Thought mommy was so cool. I wanted to sleep as little as possible. Thought I was missing out on the world. Fast forward over a decade and... I'm still the same oops. Only kidding, I do stay up late some nights a lot later than others but I sure do love my sleep. I try and get around eight hours of sleep a night.
"I want to sleep until I feel better"
I'm sure you all know how important sleep is. I just want to talk a little bit about how important it is with respect to our mental health. As I'm sure many who suffer know, sleep deprivation can affect our mental health.
Unfortunately, those who suffer from anxiety, depression, etc; are often likely to deal with insomnia and other sleeping disorders.
It can never be easy...
What Impact does sleep have on our Mental Health?
Firstly, sleep is just as important as any other essential in our lives. (eating, drinking, breathing). It allows us to recoup and repair. Not getting enough sleep can in and of itself lead to its own mental issues. For me I suffer from insomnia, some nights I will lay in bed with my eyes closed for hours on end.
The danger for me is the longer I'm awake the more I think and thinking is a mental health killer at night. The longer we are awake the more the brain goes down 'those' routes.
Basically sleep can lead to mental health changes, but at the same time, mental health can worsen sleep. Not enough sleep can trigger the onset of certain psychological conditions, although the reasons aren't entirely known. Due to this circular relationship between your sleep patterns and your mental state, it is important to get help or change your routines.
Stress, anxiety, depression, ADHD and so many other conditions can impact our sleep so easily. Some nights I'm awake until 4-5 am despite feeling exhausted and others I get lucky and it only takes me 10 minutes to fall asleep.
Is there anything we can do?
Whether you deal with anything or not can we have a positive impact on our sleep?
From my own experience, I'd say yes and no. Some nights no matter what I do, sleep just doesn't seem to be an option. Here are a few things to try and implement.
Avoid excessively napping. I'm far from a napping person but sometimes if I'm very emotional or really not in the right state of mind a nap can be the perfect thing to start over and try again. That being said, I've never been able to take a nap and fall asleep at a normal time. I understand naps are great for some but if you suffer from insomnia and whatnot, try and limit them.
Avoid the use of electronics before bed. Do you ever give advice that you are absolutely woeful at following? This would be that for me. Despite that, electronics before bed can make it very difficult to sleep. I believe it makes it hard for our melatonin to release. Like many, I use to love light and noise before bed, so I would fall asleep to the sound of the television. As time has passed I have moved onto falling asleep to classical music that I play on my phone or Echo. It's calming and I'm not susceptible to light.
Try and not eat or drink before bed, especially caffeine. Water of course if fine and probably a good idea but the rest will not make anything any easier.
Yoga. I get yoga is not for everyone, that being said pulling up a quick 10-minute yoga video before bed can leave you being more mellow and calm and puts you one step away from a good night's sleep.
Find your nightly routine. Whether that be yoga, reading a book, a bath. Find a routine that works for you. Something that makes you feel good and that you can stick with. Going to bed at the same time each night can help as well. For me personally, I aim for a 1 am bedtime.
Although it may not be easy for us who struggle, it is important to do all we can to assist in the process. I use to get maybe 1 night a week of falling asleep at a time I'm happy with, now it can be anywhere from two to four. That's an improvement I won't turn down. In simple terms. Sleep is important and getting our sleeping habits on the right track is important. If all else fails reach out to a professional, it isn't something to sleep on. Sorry I had to.
"Sleep is the best meditation"
One of my favorite quotes.
"Sleep just isn't sleep anymore, it's an escape."
- Thinking Mans Thoughts
I've created a Patreon for anyone who wants to help and support this journey I'm on. This isn’t about money nor will it ever be. I plan to blog as long as I have thoughts running through my head and stories to tell, but I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t help me in my situation. All support is appreciated but not mandatory. It's very awkward 'asking' for money especially when I don’t want it to come across like that is my intention.
If you've read all of that and still choose to support me, I will forever appreciate it.