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Beyond Counting Sheep: Sleep and your Mental Health
Sleep can be a very powerful thing that can impact us in a number of ways. Sleep can help you recharge and feel energized for your day but too much sleep can cause you to feel groggy and even more tired. In a world of disconnection it’s time to make the connection that the amount of sleep you get is very important and can have a big impact on your mental health. ;The Canadian Sleep Society suggests youth should get sleep approximately 9 hours of sleep a night and then as we age the number begins to decrease to an average of 6 hours per night. For each person sleep is going to be a bit different and the amount and how restful depends on a number of factors including diet, exercise, you schedule and your sleep conditions.
It should be no surprise that sleep or lack thereof, can play a big role in your mental health. According to to Tuck “40% of patients who see medical help from sleeping problems have a psychiatric condition” and goes include that “fewer than 20% of mental health patients don’t have sleep problems”, both of these statistics made me think twice about the importance of sleep and how much we take it for granted. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be for someone who struggle with mental health to cope on much fewer hours of zzz’s.
If your mental health is affecting your sleep patterns or you think your lack of sleep might be affecting your mental health speak with your family doctor. Work with them to develop healthy sleep habits to support your overall health. Seeking help from others is a good starting point but changing your nightly routine might be the way to help yourself. This includes, limiting caffeine before bed, turning off screens, reading to distract yourself from worries - oh, and we can’t forget guided meditation. Making changes to your nightly habits can take time, try out one of these suggestions and check out #mymTips on Twitter for the month of March to learn how you can increase your chances of having a restful nights sleep.
In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about sleep check out these blogs from mindyourmind:
Nathan is an energetic and passionate youth advocate who has spent over two decades supporting youth with mental health and wellness. Through his work in public health, youth program development and coaching, Nathan brings a wide range of experiences in supporting youth to achieve their personal goals and to make positive change in their community. When not in the office Nathan spends most of his time taking care of his fur baby, playing volleyball or coaching basketball.