Sleep and Mental Health - How to Create Better Rest Habits

The way we sleep has a profound effect on many other aspects of our lives. From being able to function properly at work, school, and home to having the skills to cope with stress and unforeseen life events, getting good rest is imperative for your mental health. For many Americans, finding deep REM sleep every night can be difficult; some have young children who have trouble sleeping, while others have chronic pain, depression, substance abuse disorders, or a sleep disorder that makes adequate rest elusive.

Fortunately, there are several ways you can create a sleep routine that will help you get good solid rest every night, which will, in turn, allow you to focus, reduce stress, and even improve memory function and mood each day. You’ll also be helping your physical health, as chronic lack of adequate sleep is responsible for a higher risk of heart attack and diabetes.

Keep reading for some wonderful tips on how to create better sleep habits.

Cut Out Caffeine

Caffeine isn’t just found in sodas; it’s also in many food items that contain chocolate, from cereal to ice cream, as well as in PMS and headache medications. Cutting out food and drink items that contain this stimulant will help you get to sleep faster and stay there longer. Be careful about reading labels when you’re grocery shopping to ensure you aren’t accidentally ingesting caffeine.

Take a Look at Your Mattress

If you have trouble staying asleep, or if you wake up with body pain, your mattress may be to blame. If it’s more than seven to 10 years old (though some, such as latex mattresses, can last up to 15 years) it may be time to upgrade. Before doing so, spend time analyzing the type of sleeper you are (hot sleeper, stomach sleeper, side sleeper, back sleeper), and note that certain mattresses work best for certain types of sleepers. Do your research so you can find the best mattress to fit your needs.

Get Daily Exercise

Daily exercise is one of the best ways to boost your energy and ensure that you’re ready for good rest each night, so create a good routine that you can stick to. Whether that means walking the dog at the same time every morning or joining a running club, exercising regularly will help you find deep REM sleep more easily and allow you to feel tired at the end of the day, preparing you for good rest. It may also help to ask a friend or loved one to join you

Reduce Stress

Stress and anxiety are two of the biggest culprits when it comes to a lack of adequate sleep, so it’s important to reduce those feelings as much as possible, especially since they can lead to depression. Think about the things that bring you stress, such as work, family situations, and running the household. Is there something you can do to make a positive change? Even if it’s something small, such as creating a budget so money woes won’t leave you overwhelmed.

Getting good sleep and creating better habits within your lifestyle can help you feel more relaxed and learn how to ensure that your physical and mental health are well taken care of. With a good plan, you can make the right changes for you and start feeling better in no time. Talk to your friends and family so you’ll have support as you transition to a healthier lifestyle.

Cheryl Conklin is a freelance writer and tutor by trade and a blogger, adventurer, traveler, and creator of in her free time. She created because she believes one can’t have physical health without mental health and vice versa. She wanted a place to share her thoughts on wellness along with the great resources she finds on her own wellness journey, and so was born!