- As we all try to cope with rising levels of stress and anxiety, let’s review some of the research which reveals one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to support your mental health.
- Our blog explains why even one night of poor sleep impacts your mood, stress levels and mental resiliency.
- We share practical tips on how to ensure you get the eight hours of deep restorative sleep that has been shown to positively impact mental health in multiple ways.
There’s never been a more important time to protect your mental health and while stress-busting activities like meditation can help, most everyday people don’t know how and are not drawn to mastering it. Sleep however is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to help you wake up on the right side of the bed with a better mood and a stronger mindset, to face any day.
Research has proven that sleeping for the recommended eight hours a night and deep restorative sleep is essential for building the hormones and neurotransmitters that help us regulate our mood, emotions, and stress. It also helps to clean out the brain of inflammation and toxins that have built up during the day which when not cleared make it harder for your brain to function at its best. This is why even one sleepless night can leave you feeling grumpy, irrational, foggy, anxious or stressed. An increase in stress then makes it even harder to sleep the following night, leading to irregular sleeping patterns and more anxious, sleepless nights, it’s a vicious cycle!
Research shows that sleep deprivation can cause poor brain function impacting our ability to think clearly or creatively, concentrate on tasks, problem-solve, or recall memories, all of which compromises our ability to learn, work and live with satisfaction. There really is no true health without mental and emotional health so we need to look after our precious brains and boost our mood by prioritising better sleep.
Prioritising your sleep starts with small strategies to help you establish a regular circadian rhythm (body clock) that sets your sleep/wake patterns. Your circadian rhythm loves consistency so establishing a routine with regular meals, sun exposure, exercise and sleep times will set you up for a good night’s sleep and positively impact your mental health.
Tips To Keep Your Body And Mind Happier:
- Set a consistent wake up time (even at the weekends) that is 8 hours and 15 minutes after lights out and stick to it.
- Expose your eyes to direct sunlight for approximately 15 to 20 minutes in the morning by going for a short walk or walking all or part of the way to work. You’ll also get a dose of Vitamin D which is proven to also boost your mental health.
- Do your main exercise for the day during your morning. High-intensity physical activity can be energising when done at night and can affect your ability to sleep. Instead switch to low-intensity walking, stretching or gentle yoga at night to help destress from your day and prepare you for sleep.
- Limit your caffeine intake to one cup before 2 pm and switch to decaffeinated versions or herbal teas in the afternoon.
- If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed during the day, instead of reaching for another coffee or sugary treat, choose herbal medicines that have an adaptogenic action. These are herbs that utilise natural body energy better so they give “a lift” but are relaxing at the same time and don’t tax the body in the process. Daytime Revive can naturally support you to feel calmer, centred and in control. This bespoke blend of 28 ingredients including herbal medicines, homeopathic preparations and flower essences is an effective way to relax the nervous system and balance out stress levels during the day. Adaptogen and nervous system herbs such as those in Daytime Revive not only support stronger mental and emotional health during the day but also a more peaceful sleep at night.
- Eat a balanced dinner with a mix of healthy protein and vegetable-based carbohydrates at least two hours before bed to feed and nourish the body, maintain blood sugar levels throughout the night and allow for most of this meal digestion to take place before trying to sleep.
- Limit your fluid intake before bed to avoid having to wake up and visit the bathroom at night. While it can be tempting to use alcohol to help you relax before bed, even one alcoholic drink can interfere with your ability to achieve the deep, restorative sleep you need for strong mental health the next day.
- Dim the lights after dinner to help your brain produce the sleep hormone, melatonin.
- Set a consistent bedtime alarm in the evenings that reminds you to start your hour long wind down and gives you enough time to drift off to sleep ideally before 10 pm. The hours of sleep before midnight are more restorative!
- Switch off from all screens at least one hour before bed. If you really must continue working, make sure you download f.lux technology for your laptop or alter the screen brightness settings on your phone to reduce the blue light emitting from your device. Blue light is known to block melatonin, our main sleep hormone.
- Unwind in a hot bath enriched with magnesium salts to help your mind and body relax before bed. Our SleepDrops Divine Sleep Lavender Magnesium bath salts are rich in Magnesium sulphate, a naturally occurring mineral that is easily absorbed by the skin. Magnesium sulphate has been shown to support stiff and weary muscles, calm the mind, soften skin, and support relaxation. These salts also contain the essential oil of Lavender, proven to relax the body and mind to support a more restful night’s sleep.
- Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool (optimal temperature 18 to 22 degrees). Invest in earplugs and an eye mask to block out any sleep-disrupting noise or light you can’t control.
- Put a notepad beside your bed and use it to note anything on your mind. You can also use this as a gratitude journal and take some time before bed to write down five things you are grateful for that happened during your day.
- If you are feeling wired, worried or overwhelmed and struggling to get to sleep, SleepDrops for Adults, (New Zealand’s Number 1 selling sleep formula) is an effective way to take our carefully selected botanicals that support a balanced nervous system, remove sleep blocks and enable healthy sleep to happen naturally. This award-winning formula provides rapid support to switch off your busy mind and supports you to go to sleep and can be taken again to get back to sleep faster if you wake in the night.
- Eat nutrient-dense meals to nourish your cells and not just fill you up! Our brain is our hungriest organ and it’s important to eat a diet to fuel our brain with the nutrients it needs for optimal mental health and healthy sleep patterns. Specifically, Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin C and the B’s are essential nutrients for regulating our brain chemicals, stress levels and to make the hormones that influence our sleep. However, if you are recovering from illness, have a particularly active or stressful lifestyle, you’ll burn through these nutrients quickly. Couple that with a lack of nutrients in our soils caused by modern-day agriculture methods and many people can easily find themselves lacking.
If you are concerned you may be deficient in these nutrients, SleepDrops Essential Sleep and Stress Nutrients Capsules is the ultimate supplement containing Tart cherry (a natural source of the sleep hormone melatonin) and 400mg of highly absorbable Magnesium to feed your deep sleep pathways. Additional therapeutic doses of Vitamin C, Zinc and B vitamins support balanced stress hormones in a winning combination to support you to sleep soundly and wake up with a stronger mindset ready to make the most of any day.
Implementing these steps can take patience and perseverance but be kind to yourself and just implement one improvement at a time that works for you and your lifestyle. If you are really struggling with your sleep, our team of caring Naturopathic Sleep Specialists can support you to improve your sleep with a complete health and wellbeing assessment and care plan at our Sleep and Wellness Centre. To book a consult today or discuss our services, call 0800 345 888 or book online here.
If you or someone you know need mental health support, please call or text 1737 to speak to a trained counsellor 24/7 or book an appointment with your Doctor.
Source: The SleepDrops Research Team