The Importance of Sleep

Sleep is key to good mental health as well as general physical wellness. Not getting enough sleep- or not getting quality sleep- is a huge blow to your ability to maintain your emotions, feel good in your body, and stay mentally sharp.

We are armed with modern technology that allows us more understanding of our personal sleep cycle than ever. Most smart watches and fitness trackers can detect the depth and length of your sleep cycle. Some phones are also able to monitor your sleep.

Despite this knowledge, we are not sleeping well. Part of this is natural- as we age, we spend less time in deep sleep and may need less sleep. But part is cultural. For those who work during the day, night is often the only time you have to yourself to relax or to do your own activities. Sleep is one of the first things we sacrifice when we have a major deadline coming up or we want to spend more time with friends.

Good sleep starts with routine and sleep hygiene. Going to bed and waking up around the same time every day creates a routine that supports quality sleep. This flies in the face of our idea of weekends, days off, and holidays as time to “sleep in” so creating a sleep routine means finding alternatives to sleeping in as a benefit of a day off.

Sleep hygiene means keeping non-sleep activity out of the bedroom. Even though fewer people own TVs or keep them in the bedroom, our phones and tablets create a similar disruption in our sleep hygiene. Those living in a single room or studio can benefit from having a couch or comfortable chair for other activities. Those with multiple rooms should avoid the bedroom except for sleep.

We know the problem- poor sleep- and the solutions- sleep hygiene and routines. But the problem goes beyond just a poor night’s sleep. A habit of too little sleep can leave you susceptible to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

Interested in discovering how your sleep cycle affects your mental health? In therapy, we can go over your sleep routines, explore any resistance to sleep, and go through the process of discernment to find out how much sleep you actually need. Call or text 831-531-2259 or email leftcoastmft@gmail.com to schedule a free consultation to find out how we can work together to transform your sleep habits to work for you.

Not quite ready for therapy? My Foundations of Mental Health course is coming soon and will go over sleep as one of the foundational habits that are key to health and wellness.

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