Sleep and mental health

Sleep and mental health are closely related. Not only is lack of sleep a symptom for a number of mental health conditions but it also affects the normal functioning of an individual. PsychCentral did a whole series on  issues, effects, habits, etcetera. They note that sleep disorders have affected up to 20% of the population (according to the National Institutes of Health). Many individuals live many years with a disorder without realizing it. Some of the common signs may include feeling tired throughout the day, unable to focus, and low motivation. Sleep deprivation can affect different areas like social activities, work, school and family life. They can also be dangerous like for driving. Some common sleep disorders are insomnia,  apnea, daytime sleepiness, restless legs syndrome and narcolepsy.


Michael Bengston, M.D. wrote a list of suggestions to consider when trying to work on healthier night habits. He suggested the following:

  1. Set and keep a regular sleep schedule (and do not nap if possible)
  2. Exercise (20 to 30 minutes a day but not within two hours of bedtime)
  3. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol (also avoid a large meal within two hours of bedtime)
  4. Have a relaxing bedtime ritual (bath, reading, meditation, etc.)
  5. Wake up until sunlight (if possible let natural light wake you to activate body’s sleep/wake cycle)
  6. Don’t lie in bed awake (anxiety of tossing and turning increases insomnia)
  7. Control your room environment and temperature (dark and quiet)
  8. See a doctor if your sleeping problem continues (most disorders can be treated effectively)


To see full or more information about sleep go to:


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