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All About Sleep and Mental Health

Updated: Jan 18



We spend about one third of our lives asleep- or at least that’s how long we should spend asleep. Unfortunately, many of us don’t get as much shut-eye as we should. But don’t fall for the mantra “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”, as poor sleep is associated with an increased risk of suicide, as well as various mental health disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders.¹


One way to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep is through cognitive behavioral therapy techniques such as:

  1. Sleep restriction: Reduce the time you spend in bed when you are not sleeping to match more closely to the amount of sleep you need.²

  2. Stimulus control: Do not associate your bedroom with activities other than sleep. Only use the bedroom for sleeping or knocking boots and get out of bed after 15-20 minutes of wakefulness.²

  3. Relaxation: Tense and relax your muscles while in bed. Starting with your face muscles, gradually move down the body, tensing and relaxing every muscle, until you are fully relaxed. Alternatively, practice mindful breathing exercises while trying to fall asleep.²

  4. Exercise: Incorporate moderate to high intensity physical activity is associated with improved sleep quality.³ This can include a 15 minute walk around the block, or playing a sport with friends.

A good night’s sleep can make the difference between owning the day ahead of you and slugging through your tasks. Take control of your sleep and own the day!


References

  1. Pigeon, W. R., Bishop, T. M., & Krueger, K. M. (2017). Insomnia as a precipitating factor in new onset mental illness: A systematic review of recent findings. Current Psychiatry Reports, 19(8). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-017-0802-x

  2. Ye, Y.-yuan, Zhang, Y.-feng, Chen, J., Liu, J., Li, X.-jun, Liu, Y.-zhen, Lang, Y., Lin, L., Yang, X.-J., & Jiang, X.-J. (2015). Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (ICBT-I) improves comorbid anxiety and depression—a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PLOS ONE, 10(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0142258

  3. Yang, P.-Y., Ho, K.-H., Chen, H.-C., & Chien, M.-Y. (2012). Exercise training improves sleep quality in middle-aged and older adults with sleep problems: A systematic review. Journal of Physiotherapy, 58(3), 157–163. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1836-9553(12)70106-6




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