Tag Archives: relaxation

Improve Your Mental Health: Tips for Sleeping Better

Man sleeping

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Sleep Better for Your Health

Sleep is very important to improve our mental health and well-being. Try some tips to sleep better and make a difference in your quality of life. Sleep disorders are common among people with mental health conditions. Depression and anxiety are also common with many sleep problems like insomnia or sleep apnea.

Although insomnia can be a symptom of some mental health disorders, the relationship between sleep problems and mental illness is complex. Research suggests that poor quality sleep can contribute to mental conditions. Treating sleep problems can be one way to relieve some symptoms you may be struggling with.

Improve Your Sleeping Environment

The bedroom sleep environments have a much greater impact on our quality of sleep than most people think. Common things that disrupt sleep include noise, clutter, heat, and even small amounts of light filtering in from outside or inside your home.

Using your bedroom for stressful activities like work or studying can also contribute to sleeplessness. Consider giving your bedroom an upgrade to promote better sleep. Hang some blackout curtains, get a white noise machine, and move electronics into another room.

This is also a good time to check your bed and make sure it is comfortable. If your mattress has visible sagging, lumps, or tears, it’s time for an upgrade. A good-quality mattress is essential to provide the comfort and support your body needs to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep during the night.

Before going shopping, take some time to learn about different mattress types and materials so you can choose the best option for your needs. For example, memory foam mattresses can be great for many different body types and sleeping styles since they’re available in numerous firmness levels. If you like a little bounce to your bed, you can even get hybrid memory foam mattresses that contain both coils and foam.

Stick to a Sleep Schedule

Sleeping on an inconsistent schedule can also cause sleep-related issues. Your body runs on a kind of internal clock called the circadian rhythm. This regulates your sleep-wake cycle, helping you feel awake during the day and tired at night. However, fighting against this natural process can leave you feeling tired and groggy in the mornings and wakeful at bedtime. Try to go to bed and wake up at the about same time every day to avoid disrupting your circadian rhythm.

Care for Your Body

What you do during your waking hours will also affect your sleep. For example, studies have found that moderate aerobic exercise can increase the amount of rejuvenating deep sleep that you get, according to John Hopkins Medicine. At the same time, eating a balanced diet focused on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help your body regulate your sleep cycles. Try to limit your consumption of caffeine since it is closely tied to sleep problems.

If you want some extra help to learn how to treat your body right, you may want to work with a nutritionist, dietitian, or fitness professional. Fortunately, you can find these wellness specialists through online freelancing platforms. Simply, search for the service you are looking for, read the reviews and talent details. Then, choose a specialist that fits your needs and budget.

Try Relaxation Techniques

Many people with mental health conditions can benefit from learning a few relaxation techniques to quiet the mind before bed. The National Sleep Foundation recommends breathing exercises and guided imagery to promote sleep, but you may also want to try progressive muscle relaxation and mindfulness meditation. Find relaxation exercises that work for you and then start a habit of practicing them every evening to help your mind and body wind down.

Get Mental Health Help

For anyone with an underlying mental health issue that is getting in the way of quality, restful sleep, professional help is worth it. For example, if you have depression and experience difficulty sleeping, consider seeking treatment for depression. Mental health counseling can be effective at relieving the symptoms of depression.

Learn More about Sleep and Recovery

Health Vista has many resources for health and well-being.  You can find a How to Sleep Better handout on the Recovery Education page, with a few more tips for you. Browse the website to find ways to improve your quality of life whether or not mental illness is a problem for you or a family member. A Coping and Relaxation Workbook is also available to download and print free. Using coping techniques can help you to fall asleep faster, and to avoid over-reacting with anxiety when you wake up during the night.

Remember How Important Sleep Is

Sleep plays an essential—yet often overlooked—role in our physical health and mental wellbeing. Don’t settle for poor-quality sleep. Try improving your bedroom. Upgrade your mattress, if needed. Pick up some healthy habits and routines. Start taking steps to sleep better today, so you can wake up to a happier and healthier tomorrow.

Blog Post # 25  added 2-25-21 by Guest Contributer Sheila Olson of fitsheila.com.  Edited by Mary Knutson.

Resources for Recovery

Recovery Resources:

Many of the recovery resources were written while working with psychiatric patients. However, they were made to be helpful for recovery from other kinds of illness, or for general wellness or well-being.

Many presentations and learning activities are shared in Health Vista’s resources for recovery.  They are organized under the seven elements of recovery, the same framework used for Recovery Education lessons.

Elements of Recovery:

  • Hope
  • Security
  • Support/Managing Symptoms
  • Empowerment
  • Relationships
  • Coping
  • Finding Meaning

Find resources for recovery from Health Vista

When I was working in Inpatient Behavioral Health, I started developing and writing simple but engaging and effective patient education and learning activities.

Through the years, I also collected a wide variety of free resources for recovery include Powerpoints and many other links for health education and motivation. I wanted to make them available for others to use. Although not all of the Recovery Education lessons are posted online, many of them are.  More may be added in the future, so check back often. Here are some examples:

You can find the Hopelessness to Hope Lesson handout here.

Click to see the Finding Hope Pathfinder. That recovery lesson was made into a video YouTube to help you toward the first step to recovery.  You can also use the Positive Words Discussion Guide.

Finding Hope Pathfinder narrated video

Click the title to watch  Finding Your Way to Recovery

Recovery Workbooks:

I wrote many simple, clear, and short workbooks to share. I have donated some to community groups, but the cost of printing is too high to make them all free.  The workbooks have a cost, but they are on the healthvista.net website. Topics include Managing Pain,  Managing Long-term Pain, Managing Depression,  Managing Anger, Managing Addiction, Managing Illness, Managing Mental Illness, and Coping with Trauma.

Contact me by e-mail if you want to ask if some prices can be changed.  The following coping workbook is available free of charge:

Your Recovery Workbook: Coping and Relaxation  [.pdf] can be downloaded free and printed out. 

As you will see, my website contains many free, but very valuable resources,  Please browse and explore the lessons, handouts, learning activities, and links at https://healthvista.net/health-resources/recovery-resources/

I suggest that you start by Exploring Mindfulness . Then, begin  Taking Recovery Steps:

  • Ups and downs are to be expected – It is best to handle them as calmly as possible, using help and support to get back on track
  • Take small steps – You will get to where you are going (no matter how long it takes) if you go in the right direction
  • You feel more in control when you take the recovery steps at your own pace
  • In life, there is always hope, but sometimes you have to change what you are hoping for.
  • Be open to learning and change as you start your recovery journey

“I am not interested in the past. I am interested in the future, for that is where I expect to spend the rest of my life.”  – Charles F. Kettering

Updated 5-27-20 by Mary Knutson