Getting good sleep for good mental health

Sleep is as essential to our bodies and our brains as eating, drinking and breathing.

We can all experience issues getting a good night's sleep and struggle to feel well if we have sleep problems. Our mental health can be affected if we don't get the sleep we need, and mental health problems can sometimes make it more difficult to get good sleep.

At Able Futures, we can help you understand what sleep does to your brain, learn how to develop a routine for good sleep and find help for mental health problems that are affecting your sleep or that are affected by a lack of sleep. Apply now for support with your mental health and sleep from Able Futures, at no charge to you. 

 

Sleep and mental health: watch our videos

Helping yourself get a good night's sleep

There are some simple things you can do to help yourself have the best chance of sleeping well. Whether you work shifts and sleep during the day or you want to try to improve the quality of your eight hours sleep at night, here are some things you can try to help yourself establish a healthy sleep routine.

Apply for support for your mental wellbeing from Able Futures, which will give you up to nine months support from a mental health professional to tackle any mental health problems that are affecting your time at work. 

  • Make your bedroom a comfortable space. Put up blinds or curtains to block out unwanted light. Use soft sheets and blankets to make your bed comfy. 
  • Get some exercise at least 3 hours before you go to bed. Try giving your body a little more to do every day and it will feel more tired and in need of sleep when you go to bed.
  • Start unwinding and try to do relaxing activities such as reading a book or listening to music in the 3 hours before you lie down to sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine before bed. Drink herbal teas or a hot milky drink in the evenings and stop drinking caffeine in mid-afternoon.
  • Turn off your technology before you go into the bedroom. The blue light from the digital screens on your mobile phones, TV, computer or tablet can suppress the creation of the hormone melatonin which your brain needs for the natural sleep cycle. 

 

Do you have problems with sleep?

Do you have problems with sleep?

 

What sleep does to the brain

While we are asleep our brain remains busy. Our brain doesn’t switch off when we turn off the bedside light but, during the third of our lives when we are asleep, our brains and our bodies do things differently to when we are awake.

Sleep is essential to our physical and mental wellbeing because it gives our brain a chance to recover and regenerate and to process memories and information in a way that it cannot do when we are awake. Some parts of the brain, such as those associated with learning and memory, are more active when we are asleep than when we are awake. And the genes that trigger our brains and bodies to restore themselves are only turned on when we are asleep, so if we have a disrupted sleep pattern it can be difficult to recover the energy and other resources we need to feel good during the day.

Are you experiencing sleep problems? Able Futures could help you find resources and support to help you sleep better. 

  • If you have not had enough sleep do you find your mind is less able to control irrational or negative thoughts and do you feel depressed or anxious?
  • If you are tired does this make you feel more isolated and lonely because you don’t have the energy to spend time with friends or be sociable?
  • Are you experiencing psychotic episodes? A lack of sleep may trigger psychosis, paranoia or mania if you have a psychotic disorder or bipolar disorder, and these conditions may disturb your sleep with nightmares, frightening voices or racing thoughts.
  • Do you feel anxious with thoughts racing through your mind when you try to sleep?
  • If you have depression or seasonal affective disorder do you tend to oversleep which can disrupt your sleep pattern?

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Access to Work Mental Health Support Service: Freephone 0800 321 3137