MyAdvisor’s contact center gets more than 40,000 messages a day on average, what do we find ourselves talking about the most with clients? Sleep.
Missing out on a full night’s sleep is having more unconscious effects on your mental health than you may realize. In an age where chronic stress and anxiety rates are high, it’s important to know that a good night’s sleep fosters a healthier mental and emotional state.
Sleep is often viewed as the door to mental health concerns, meaning that irregular sleep patterns could be a sign that someone needs help. In fact, studies show that poor sleeping habits can actually contribute to developing new mental health problems. While many of us take our sleep for granted, it is connected to holistic wellness and here’s how.
According to Kenneth Wright at the University of Colorado Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory, “insufficient sleep duration, irregular and late sleep timing contribute to and worsen major health and safety problems, including heart disease and stroke, weight gain and obesity, diabetes, mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, substance abuse, and impaired immune health, etc.”
People experiencing irregular sleeping patterns often turn to CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines – a common therapy to treat sleep apnea – but this may not be needed if people are practicing good sleep hygiene.
Sleep hygiene refers to the routine of healthy sleeping patterns, such as consistently going to bed and waking up at the same time. When anxiety levels are high, people find it hard maintaining a routine. For example, did you perhaps find yourself staying up late, sleeping in, or experiencing strange dreams during quarantine? You’re not alone. Data from the World Economic Forum discussed five ways COVID-19 has disrupted our sleep. Our call centers also saw an increase in calls concerning stress management and feelings of anxiety since the pandemic began.
Whether you’re sleeping in later than normal, finding difficulty in waking up, or experiencing an overall fatigue or lack of motivation throughout the day, proper sleep hygiene can help prevent these issues.
Simple changes can make a huge positive impact on sleep. Here are some tips we share with our clients:
Create a nighttime routine: Implementing a consistent routine seven days a week will help your body’s internal clock create a natural sleep-wake cycle.
Stay active: Adenosine, a molecule found throughout the body, increases sleep pressure and is stimulated during cardiovascular exercise.
Avoid naps: Sleeping during the day can lead to insomnia later at night.
Avoid caffeine (especially in the afternoon): The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that the effects of caffeine can last up to six hours, meaning if you’re aiming to go to bed at 10, you shouldn’t drink it after 3 p.m.
Limit screen time as much as possible (especially before bed): Excessive exposure to blue light detrimentally affects our bodies’ melatonin supply.
Avoid consuming alcohol close to bedtime: Alcohol consumption actually inhibits REM sleep—the deepest of the five stages of sleep.
Create a comfortable sleeping environment: your sleeping area should be as dark and as cool as possible and investing in a comfortable mattress, pillows and sheets will make falling asleep easier.
MyAdvisor provides one-on-one holistic wellness coaching services with certified specialists and customized case management tools. We’ve found that sleep ties back to almost every problem we encounter. As part of our wellness survey, our coaches can identify sleep patterns, establish routines, and keep track of progress through our custom-designed Advisor Outcome Platform (AOP), which pulls real-time data.
Sleep is one of our favorite topics to discuss! Contact us to learn more about our holistic wellness services. We’re here to help!