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Non-Medicinal Sleep Aids When You Have a Mental Health Condition

Non-Medicinal Sleep Aids When You Have a Mental Health Condition

Lack of sleep can be especially distressing for those who are already struggling with mental health issues. When it comes to conditions like anxiety and depression, sleep deprivation can become part of a vicious cycle, in which lack of sleep exacerbates symptoms – making it even harder to relax and get much-needed rest. Here are a few non-medicinal options to try, if you’re trying to get a better night’s sleep.
Watch what and when you eat or drink.
Going to bed hungry can make it hard to sleep. But you also don’t want to eat a large meal too close to bedtime. Also watch your caffeine intake as evening draws near. Alcohol can also wreak havoc with your sleep patterns. Even if a drink helps you get to sleep, it may not be a deep sleep, or a good sleep. It’s especially important to be cautious with alcohol intake if you are taking prescribed medication for mental health symptoms or any other conditions.
Try to get fresh air and exercise.
Exercising even five minutes every day can help you feel better and improve your physical and mental health. It can also help you get a better night’s sleep. However, exercising too close to bedtime may make it harder for you to drift off. So, choose a type of exercise you enjoy, and aim to get to it earlier in the day.
Have a bedtime routine.
Having a ritual is more than just going to bed at the same time every day. It’s also about having a set of practices that help you feel relaxed, safe, and comfortable. This could entail a warm bath before bedtime, a cup of herbal tea, some calming music, or a good book. Create a ritual out of what works for you.
Have a comfortable sleeping area.
If your bedroom is messy, dingy, or uncomfortable, it’s understandably hard to relax and go to sleep. Try to keep your sleeping area as free from clutter as possible. It’s also important to control light entry. Too much light can mess up your sleep patterns. And for some people, even just a little is too much. You can reduce light in your bedroom with the use of darkened shades. Or consider wearing an eye mask. Having a Night Sky Ceiling installed can also help create a more soothing and pleasant ambiance in your bedroom, and even help combat sleeplessness. This is something that might be especially helpful for children with sleep issues.
Try to identify and reduce stressors in your life.
Depression and anxiety can’t be magically eliminated by making life changes. And not everyone has the freedom to alter every stressful situation in their life. Nevertheless, it can be helpful to reduce the severity of stress symptoms, to see what in your life might be making them worse and whether any of these stressors can be eliminated. For instance, if a relationship is making you feel more anxious, try to set clear boundaries. If a job is causing you extra stress, see if a career change is possible. Career stress tends to be a real problem for managers, so trying to delegate more effectively could also help. Other ways you can reduce work-related stress include practicing self-care in the workplace, taking mental health days, and taking advantage of any vacation time you have.
Don’t fight it.
If you find yourself wakeful when you don’t want to be, fighting it can raise your frustration levels and make it even harder to relax. Take that time to do something that you find soothing and pleasant, like reading a good book, and you may find yourself drifting off after all.
Having an array of techniques for falling asleep, and getting a full night’s sleep, is important for anyone suffering from insomnia on top of their mental health concerns, especially if they need to be careful about medication use. Everyone is different so what works for one person might not work for you but take your time and try different methods until you figure out which ones help you.

Researched & written by joycewilson@teacherspark.org

How sleep boosts your energy

Night sky ceiling Murals

Scientists divide sleep into two major types: REM (rapid eye movement) sleep or dreaming sleep, and non-REM or quiet sleep. Surprisingly, they are as different from each other as each one is from waking— yet both may be important for energy.



Night sky ceiling Murals

Non-REM sleep involves three stages. Sleep specialists believe that the last of them—known as deep sleep or slow-wave sleep—is the main time when your body renews and repairs itself. This stage of sleep appears to be the one that plays the greatest role in energy, enhancing your ability to make ATP, the body’s energy molecule. In deep sleep, blood flow is directed less toward your brain, which cools measurably. At the beginning of this stage, the pituitary gland releases a pulse of growth hormone that stimulates tissue growth and muscle repair. Researchers have also detected increased blood levels of substances that activate your immune system, raising the possibility that deep sleep helps prepare the body to defend itself against infection.

Someone whose deep sleep is restricted will wake up feeling less refreshed than a person who got adequate deep sleep. When a sleep-deprived person gets some sleep, he or she will pass quickly through the lighter sleep stages into the deeper stages and spend a greater proportion of time there, suggesting that deep sleep fills an essential role in a person’s optimal functioning.

Just as deep sleep restores your body, scientists believe that REM sleep restores your mind, perhaps in part by helping clear out irrelevant information. Studies of students’ ability to solve a complex puzzle involving abstract shapes suggest that the brain processes information overnight; students who got a good night’s sleep after seeing the puzzle fared much better than those asked to solve the puzzle immediately. Other studies, from Harvard Medical School and elsewhere, have found that REM sleep facilitates learning and memory. People who were tested to measure how well they had learned a new task improved their scores after a night’s sleep. If they were prevented from having REM sleep, the improvements were lost. By contrast, if they were awakened an equal number of times from deep sleep, the improvements in the scores were unaffected.

There is also emerging evidence that getting enough REM sleep may help to preserve memory and cognitive function as you age.

Why a Better Night Sleep Should Be a Part of Your Fitness Routine

Why a Better Night Sleep Should Be a Part of Your Fitness Routine

Why a Better Night Sleep Should Be a Part of Your Fitness Routine : The majority of fitness enthusiasts think that what they do in the gym only matters. While this is not entirely true, activities outside the gym, including diet – what you eat and drink, and sleeping patterns significantly matter as well. A good night’s sleep plays a significant role in how the body functions, changes, and grows. As such, good sleep should be part of your health routine and your fitness routine.

There is a direct relationship between sleep & exercise. There is a high concentration of growth hormone, which helps in muscle build-up and repair during sleep. Therefore, fitness enthusiasts engaging in various exercise routines, be it cardio or strength training, should get a good night’s sleep to allow the body to strengthen and repair. That said, below are some effects of poor sleeping patterns to fitness routines.

  1. Poor Sleep Affects Gym TimeThe direct effect of poor sleep on gym time is substantial. The disastrous effects of inadequate sleep significantly affect your performance during gym sessions. Regardless of your fitness goals, growing some muscles should be the number one priority. Muscles help in burning fats and contribute towards achieving your fitness goals. However, lack of sleep is bad for your muscles for many reasons.For starters, poor sleeping patterns decrease the rate of protein synthesis, which is the ability of your body to make muscles, leads to high injury incidence and causes significant muscle loss. Lack of sleep also makes it difficult for the body to recover from fitness sessions as it slows down the production of growth hormone.Besides, inadequate sleep increases the production of cortisol, which is the body’s stress hormone. Cortisol affects the already reduced production of growth hormones in such a vicious cycle. That said, fitness enthusiasts who don’t prioritize sleep will find exercise routines unbearable. Suffering from sleep debt makes workout sessions overly challenging.
  2. Sleep Affects DietHealth experts associate the argument between successful exercise routine and healthy weight with movement and eating. Most recommend that if you want to achieve a good looking and fit body, you should eat less food and move often. While this may not be simple, especially for those who eat less and move more, it is totally impossible for those who suffer from deficient sleep.Between exercising, eating, and movement, there is sleep, a significant contributor to achieving a healthy body. According to the CDC, approximately 30 percent of adults suffer from a lack of sleep. Similarly, the percentage of adults with obesity is almost the same, implying that sleep has a direct effect on diet.Lack of enough sleep, which is estimated to sleep less than 7 hours at night, directly affects a proper diet’s health benefits. Poor sleeping patterns frequent hunger episodes reduce satisfaction after meals and impair the energy to exercise.
  3. Poor Sleep Increases Food CravingMost people wrongly believe that hunger episodes are caused by a lack of control over the stomach. This is not true, as leptin and ghrelin hormones cause hunger and food craving. Leptin hormone is produced by fat cells. Reduced production of leptin by the fat cells makes your stomach feel empty. On the other hand, increased production of ghrelin leads to increased hunger, reduces the calories burnt/metabolism in the body, and increases the level of fat storage in the body.Sleep deprivation makes it difficult to control the levels of leptin and ghrelin hormones in the body. Poor sleeping patterns trigger the brain to increase food craving, depress the production of leptin, and stimulate ghrelin production. That aside, as mentioned, sleep debt stimulates the production of cortisol. This stress hormone is associated with fat gain, as it activates the brain to crave more food.Similarly, less sleep increases the production of ghrelin in the body. A combination of cortisol and ghrelin deactivates brain centers that stimulate satisfaction after eating, making you feel hungry even after a heavy meal. Additionally, sleep deprivation leads to impaired judgments on a diet, especially for fitness enthusiasts who are on strict dieting. Lack of enough sleep impairs the activity of the frontal lobe of the brain, which regulates complex decision-making, such as avoiding junk.
  4. Poor Sleep Alters Body Fat CellsIf you have ever suffered from sleep deprivation, you understand the exhausted, confused, and dazed moods that follow. Poor sleep affects the body, mind, and fat cells as well. Lack of enough sleep subjects the body to metabolic grogginess. This occurs due to the body’s disrupted ability to use insulin. With unregulated insulin production in the body, fatty cells filter lipids and fatty acids from the bloodstream, preventing storage.Poor regulation and use of insulin lead to increased concentrations and impaired fat metabolism. Storage of excess fats in the body tissues such as the liver leads to weight gain and impaired fitness.

Conclusion

Sleep is an essential component of the body’s overall health and wellness. Apart from the widely known health benefits of satisfactory sleep, it improves workout recovery and heightens your workout routines. That said, with various distracters, including cell phones, computers, TVs, and tablets available, you may find it difficult to achieve a good night’s sleep. However, following some healthy sleeping habits can significantly help. Proper preparation of your bedroom, including using a comfortable mattress, working on bedroom interior & adding a night sky ceiling mural and creating a bedtime ritual, can stimulate long and deep sleeping patterns.

The Health Benefits of Sleeping Under the Stars

From resetting your circadian clock to increasing your well-being, a Stargazers night sky ceiling mural will work wonders.

Most of us spend too much time staring at this glowing screen and then have trouble sleeping, and new research hammers home the fact that technology is turning us into night owls.

What do doctors recommend? Having your bedroom ceiling transformed with a night sky ceiling mural & stargaze in your own bed.

“By increasing our exposure to twinkling stars and reducing our exposure to electrical lighting at night, we can turn our internal clock and sleep times back and likely make it easier to awaken and be alert in the morning,” ~ Award winning designer Carl Marshall.