The amount of sleep I’ve had in any given night is the single most important determinant in how my day is going to go. This is because sleep correlates with emotional well-being, physical health and ability to concentrate and function properly throughout the day. I find myself especially cranky and kind of insufferable to be around on days that I haven’t had enough sleep – I’m one of those “don’t talk to me until I’ve had coffee” kind of people.
There’s a ton of science backing up the connection between good sleep and general well-being, in literally every single aspect of our lives. The book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker gives a comprehensive background of sleep research, in non-scientific language that makes it really interesting and easy to read, so I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking to learn more about how to better their sleep. For example, the book states, “Within the brain, sleep enriches our ability to learn, memorize, and make logical decisions. It recalibrates our emotions, restocks our immune system, fine-tunes our metabolism, and regulates our appetite.”
Sleep hygiene is made up of both creating an environment that is conducive to your individual sleep needs and forming good habits that allow your body and mind to get the good sleep that it needs.
Especially for those struggling with sleep in relation to mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, psychologists recommend having the same wake up time each day, as well as the same sleep time each day. This is so your body becomes used to a sleep routine and is able to fall asleep more easily.
Your bed is for sleeping
It’s important to create a mental connection between sleeping and being in your bed, so it’s recommended to avoid lounging in bed and working in bed during the day. This is especially harder now that we’re all working from home, especially if your desk is in your bedroom, but still important!
Don’t toss and turn
If you’ve been in bed trying to sleep unsuccessfully for 30 mins, get up and stretch or have a glass of water and read for a few minutes before getting back into bed to try again. I find this helpful as I tend to get more and more frustrated with myself if I can’t sleep, and that makes it even harder because then I’ve worked myself up!
What is your sleep like? How do you think your sleep habits currently affect your mood? Have you ever changed your habits, and if so, what did you do?