This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (18th – 24th May) is going to be especially important for us all this year, with the extra stress and worry that has come with our current pandemic.
Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 is focused on kindness as the main theme.
Being kind to ourselves, and in fact prioritising our wellbeing is crucial for our resilience. Investing in our sleep quality is something I want to open more eyes to this year!
Proper rest and recover is essential for good mental health, and really goes hand in hand with being kind to ourselves.
In the video below, I wanted to break down the 5 main ways that lack of sleep and mental health issues link together. All of these examples come from my client work over the years.
Sleep is a key factor in mental wellness that is often overlooked by busy people.
The cycle of mental health and lack of sleep
One of the most obvious areas that sleep, or lack of it, affects our mental health is how easily this can become a cycle within our 24 hours.
When you experience this lack of sleep at night and wake up without inspiration and motivation, the day begins on a negative note. Then you get going and this sense of tiredness continues during your entire day cause you not to be able to fully peak perform and even leading to mistakes. All of this impacts your self esteem and leaves you unfulfilled at the end of the day.
So the first step is breaking this cycle within your 24 hours.
Sleep and the range of emotion
One of the most obvious areas that sleep, or lack of it, affects our mental health is how well we regulate our emotions.
There are a lot of negative feelings tied in with loss of sleep; from anger at the thoughts’ situations, and even the people who we blame for keeping us awake, to frustration at our own inability to focus and function well after a night of sleeplessness.
When we are well rested, we are much less emotionally reactive, and much better equipped to deal with the stress of the day.
Now more than ever, with busy career people working from home with their family all around them, we need to be keeping ourselves happy and mentally healthy.
Discuss this with your family and make sure everyone is getting the rest, quiet time and sleep that they need to make the days go smoothly.
Sleep and the less obvious factors
Some of the less obvious things that come up from poor sleep quality tie in to our mental health and our perception of ourselves too.
Over eating is something I see often, but you might not have made the connection yourself.
When we are not rested enough, the hormones that regulate our appetite get out of synch, and we crave sugar and fatty foods. With being on lockdown, we are close to the fridge and perhaps bored too.
So if you find yourself over eating and feeling bad about your choices, consider that poor sleep may be triggering you to do this. By prioritizing your sleep and down time, you can curb your appetite and calm your cravings.
Sleep and your career
When it comes to mental health in the workplace, there is a lot of focus on purpose and drive. And this is exactly as it should be – purpose is a key factor in your motivation and job satisfaction.
But I also know that sleep is often overlooked, and that’s a shame as it can make or break your mental wellbeing during times of stress or extra pressure.
When you are working towards a deadline, for example, it is common to have a few late nights to get the job done. But what is less common is taking a period of reduced hours afterwards to recover from the extra workload.
Your working life needs balance to keep you happy, healthy and productive over the long term. The extra hours you put in when pushing for a deadline can easily drift into becoming your new normal, if you don’t stay mindful of it.
Constant pushing and overworking quickly becomes detrimental to your performance – so remember to keep it as a short term strategy.
The best long term strategy is to put your mental and physical health first, so that you can always perform at your best. When you remember that you are your most valuable asset, and begin treating yourself more kindly, you will reap the benefits.
What will you be focusing on this Mental Health Awareness Week? If I can make a suggestion, it would be to look at your work life balance, and enjoy some good quality sleep.
This is one of the reasons I put together a free guide, 28 Ways to Overcome Insomnia Naturally, which you can register for a free copy of below.
Seeing clients of mine, busy professionals who have survived life for years on about 5 hours of broken sleep a night, beginning to wake up and enjoy life by overcoming their sleep issues, is why I do what I do.