Ever seen a tired child miserably sobbing in the supermarket? Well the same happens to adults (it’s just we probably won’t start stamping our feet in Asda). But a lack of good quality sleep can certainly make you prone to mood swings, not to mention stress, depression and anxiety. If poor sleep becomes really chronic, it can even lead to impulsive behaviour, hallucinations, paranoia and suicidal thoughts. Our friendships, jobs and relationships may also suffer.
Whilst it’s perfectly possible to get by on just a few hours of sleep for a while, the long term effects of missing out on valuable shuteye can clearly be rather more serious. This is because getting enough sleep (around 8 hours a night) is essential for a healthy immune system, memory, physical healing – and of course, our mental health.
The science bit
There is still much about sleep that we don’t know. But experts believe increased anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders brought on by sleep deprivation are connected to our instinctive and primal emotions. This is referred to as the limbic system.
The limbic system itself contains two small areas in the brain collectively known as the amygdala. It’s here that our ‘fight or flight’ response is triggered, making us feel on edge and panicky if a threat is detected. Being sleep deprived has been shown to make the amygdala more sensitive, so we’re effectively on ‘high alert’ much more than we need to be. It’s then that common mental health disorders can take root, because we’re not giving our minds and bodies the chance to rest and reset.
But how can you sleep better and improve your mental health?
Luckily there are a number of things you can try that will hopefully allow a restful night’s sleep and give your mental health a fighting chance.
- Make sure your bedroom is a place of rest and relation
If you want to watch TV, surf the net or play on your Xbox, head off somewhere else to do it.
- Keep to your sleep routine
Head up to bed at roughly the same time every night and don’t be tempted to lay in for too long in the morning.
- Get more exercise in the day (but not too close to bedtime)
Physical exercise like jogging and walking is great not just for our waistline but our mental health too. It triggers the brain to release endorphins which in turn give us energy, lift our mood and make us feel naturally tired come night time. But resist the urge to exercise right before bed as it will stimulate your mind and wake you up.
- Create an environment that’s conducive to sleep
Next, make sure your room is quiet and dark so you won’t be disturbed. Snoring partner keeping you awake? One of our Kally anti-snore pillows might just do the trick. And if there’s too much light outside, our eye masks are one of our top picks.
Finally, consider the temperature of your room. With these chilly winter nights in full swing, it’s a great time to try our super cosy electric fleece heat blanket. Its three temperature settings and fast warm-up time mean you’ll be toasty warm in a jiffy. But if you’re finding your room too hot, why not instead try our cooling mattress topper and cooling pillow. Both are wonderfully soft and hypoallergenic, and like all our products come with a 14 night sleep trial option.
- Watch what you’re eating (and drinking)
If nodding off is proving tricky, try to reduce your caffeine intake during the day and limit alcoholic drinks in the evening. Don’t eat dinner too late either if possible, especially if it’s spicy, fatty or sugary. It can easily lead to indigestion and acid reflux which won’t do you any favours.
- Reduce your anxiety levels
Easier said than done, we know. But prolonged stress and anxiety can have a hugely negative effect on our quality of life and seriously disrupt our sleep patterns. This then makes us more stressed and anxious and so the cycle repeats.
A warm bath before bed with some relaxing music and lovely scented relaxation candles can be just the thing. Or you might want to try our weighted anxiety blanket, proven to reduce stress and tension to induce natural sleep. It works thanks to its quilted pockets that are filled with tiny glass beads. These beads provide even amounts of pressure across your body, stimulating each stress point. It’s this sense of weight and pressure that give a feeling of being wrapped in a warm bear hug. Plus you’ll feel completely secure, enabling your body to relax.
Sleep well tonight and every night
At Kally Sleep we believe that everyone deserve a good night’s sleep not just tonight but every night. All our products are therefore designed with you in mind, and every kind of sleeper is catered for.