Looking after our mental health is something that more of us are concerned about following the challenges of the past year. Two key areas that we encourage anyone to consider when trying to improve their mental health are sleep hygiene and eating a balanced diet. Keep reading to learn about the benefits you could experience by focusing on these two areas of your life and how they can impact your mental health.
Sleep Hygiene for Mental Health
For anyone who struggles with their mental health, one of the first things to consider is whether you are getting enough sleep each night. Anxiety and depression can be exasperated with a lack of sleep, making it harder to think clearly the following day. However, many mental health disorders make it more challenging to fall asleep or stay asleep all night long. For this reason, it’s worth thinking about your sleep hygiene and the changes you could make to help you get a good night’s sleep every night.
Having a set bedtime and a regular sleep schedule can help to get you into a good routine. It’s important to find ways that help you to relax before bed and avoid using screens or consuming alcohol or caffeine in the evening. Regular exercise can help you to feel tired when it comes to the evening time, and you’ll find that your body needs a good night’s sleep to help your muscles recover. Also, take the time to assess your bedroom and whether you need to block out any light or noise that may disrupt you from sleeping. If you are struggling to sleep and it’s impacting your life too much, I recommend considering cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Sleep problems can be addressed through these sessions and we can work to improve your mental health and overall wellbeing.
Eating Well for Your Mental Health
Our diet has a huge impact on our health and wellbeing, and along with a regular exercise routine, it can completely transform how you feel about yourself. Focus on eating a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables each day. Foods such as salmon, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, are known to improve mental health, and dark green leafy vegetables offer good protection for the brain. Focus on consuming foods that target your brain, such as nuts, beans, and seeds, and avoid food and drink that may trigger your mental health concerns.
In recent years, research has shown that there is a huge link between our gut and our brain. Paying attention to what you eat and how it makes you feel can help you to avoid foods that affect your mental health. Try to avoid overeating when you feel stressed, as this can often make you feel worse in the long run. A food journal is a great way to keep on top of your eating patterns and give you a clear idea of where you need to make changes to your diet.
If you are struggling with your mental health, as well as reviewing your sleep hygiene and diet, consider getting professional help. Contact me today for more information about how CBT could help you to take control of your life and improve your mental health and wellbeing.