Losing out on sleep can massively affect how you feel
Your mind and body need rest. When you learn how to sleep better, you learn how to prioritize yourself again.
Sleep is a deceptively important part of self-care. When you have 12 hours worth of to-dos, hobbies you love, and people you want to spend time with, it’s easy to push sleep off.
In this article we’ll explore how sleep affects mental health, and how to sleep better to control your mood.
The relationship between sleep and mental health
Poor sleep leads to worrying and worrying leads to poor sleep. Sleep and mental health are an interconnected cycle where one feeds the other. Your mind needs its 8 hours of deep sleep to recharge and renew for every day.
How does lack of sleep affect your physical and mental health
If you’re having trouble sleeping, it can often result in feeling anxious or depressed. Daily stress and worries can be triggers for not sleeping well, which is why it is important to bring awareness to your sleeping problems and foster self-care rituals that can help you relax before bedtime.
Lack of sleep can also result in mood swings that are a bit hard to control. Understanding how sleep affects your mental health is the first step to improve your sleeping habits.
How to sleep better and control your mood
1. Limit caffeine after mid-afternoon
The effects of caffeine last far longer than the pep it puts in your step. It can affect your ability to fall asleep up to seven hours after your last sip. No matter how tired you feel, your brain will stay buzzed and stubborn. Ditch the coffee after 4pm.
For the hardcore caffeine lovers, we wrote more about natural ways to relieve stress here. Green tea contains caffeine and L-Theanine, an amino acid that improves your mental focus, boosts your immune system, and - you guessed it - helps you sleep.
It comes in supplement form, too, for when you want to skip the caffeine altogether but still need to focus. You might have to go easy on the 6pm cold brew (and the anxious hand-shaking), but you can still smash your deadlines with a gentler boost.
2. Engage in a little exercise
Just 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day can battle your insomnia for you. In fact, a recent study found that its effects are similar to those of sleeping pills.
Exercise in the way you like best. Yoga, weightlifting, spin class, dancing. It doesn’t just settle your swirling thoughts and help you get nervous energy out, but it also physically triggers a little sleepiness, which is best for those of us who have trouble wanting to sleep sometimes.
Your heart rate goes up with exercise, making you feel ready to tackle anything....And then, starting in about 30 minutes, that rate returns to normal, slowing down and making you sleepy.
That’s why it’s best to exercise about an hour before bed, so you don’t get caught in the middle of the day with a little surprise nap - which could make it harder to sleep later.
3. Use your skincare ritual routine to prompt your mind to settle down
“Ritual” is the important part of this tip. Every evening, settle down and settle into your skin.
Surround yourself with luxurious scent, softness, and positive affirmations, remembering that you are worth it, at the same time every night.
Our Evening Body Serum encloses you in aromatic nourishment while you meditate on the feeling of self-care and appreciation before bedtime.
You are capable of handling your impulses, your moods. You deserve to stop your racing mind and get rest.. No deadline is more important than having a healthy body and emotions. You only get one you - pamper it.
For nights when you need to invoke serenity and tranquility, indulge in a home spa experience. A hot bath, candles, an hour to yourself. It works.
4. When push comes to shove, use grounding exercises
You’ve decided to prioritize yourself and done everything right, you’ve learned how to sleep better, and you’re ready to dream. All that’s left to do is wait.
“Wait, what was it I was forgetting on that project? No, I need to sleep. Go to sleep.”
“… did I turn the oven off?”
“What did Charlie say he needed for his school presentation again? And when are his exams? Oh, god, I didn’t check to make sure he did his homework, my work meeting ran late. And speaking of work …”
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your emotions, stress, and thoughts seem like they’re going to get the last laugh. Don’t worry, they won’t.
Grounding exercises tie you back to your body. It seems counter-intuitive, that focusing on your body could distract you from what seems important when you’re falling asleep - your mind. But your mind itself is the real distraction!
Connect to something completely unrelated to anything that could cause you stress. Name your senses: What do you feel? What do you hear? What do you smell? Do you taste anything? Go through the list, over and over again. You’re here, in bed, safe and warm, with no responsibilities.
Go through each part of your body, and tell it to fall asleep. Silliness aside, it takes just enough thought to fully distract you, but it’s boring enough to help you sleep. Toes, go to sleep. Arches, go to sleep. Heels, go to sleep. Ankles, go to sleep. Shins… you’re asleep.
Even breathing exercises ground you, pulling you away from your thoughts and into your cozy, snuggled-up body. Recite “in… and out” as you pull in your breath for 6 seconds and out for 8.
Sleeping better is part of achieving holistic well-being
When you regulate emotions, you get more time where you feel like yourself. And that means something.
Relax, sink into self-care, and let us accompany you on your wellness journey. Subscribe to our newsletter for more gentle reminders to make room for yourself.