Did you know that by making simple lifestyle changes you can maintain good mental health in many ways?
People that suffer from mental health problems such as psychosis, anxiety, depression, etc. find that their mental health improves after following some of the healthy living tips below.
While all the healthy living tips here can improve your emotional wellbeing, they are sometimes not sufficient to treat some mental health conditions, and medication and/or other treatment is usually required for serious mental health issues.
If you want further advice or have questions discuss these issues with your physician or visit the Clarity Clinic for more information.
Sleep is important for our minds and bodies to recover after each day.
Poor sleep may sometimes lead to emotional distress, but it could also be a symptom of mental illness. Medication is at times used for some time to help people sleep.
However, non-medication methods are usually the most commonly used.
The non-medication methods are sometimes referred to as sleep hygiene and here are some tips:
1. Increase exercise slowly
It is important to get some form of exercise (i.e. cycling, swimming, running, walking, etc.) on 3 to 4 days every week.
Seek advice from your doctor in case you have not exercised for a while, if you find exercising hard, or if you suffer from a serious medical condition.
2. Reduce Your Daytime Naps
If you spend time during the day in bed, it can affect your ability to sleep at night since you may not feel tired at night.
Occasional naps during daytime when you are tired is unlikely to affect your sleep pattern overall.
Still, it is important to avoid routinely napping during the day and naps should ideally be limited to no more than 30 minutes.
3. Reduce Your Intake of Caffeine (especially before going to bed).
Caffeine is a stimulant that prevents you from falling asleep.
Coffee has the highest levels of caffeine, but tea too contains caffeine and should also be avoided before going to bed.
Cola also contains caffeine and you should also avoid it.
Some tablets such as Neurofen plus or Solpadeine also contain caffeine and you should also avoid taking them before you go to bed.
4. Reduce Your Intake of Alcohol (especially before going to bed)
People often feel that alcohol helps them sleep better, but in the long run, it is more likely to make sleep worse.
Alcohol reduces your sleep quality, which means that you are more likely to feel tired the next day.
If you drink heavily and cut back or stop completely, you are likely to suffer from sleep difficulties for several weeks before the body adjusts.
5. Avoid too much stimulation
Avoid watching TV or playing computer games in bed.
Anything too stimulating mentally can affect your sleep quality. If you are having a hard time sleeping, it is best to only sleep in bed while doing other activities elsewhere.
If you associate your bed with just sleep, you are more likely to feel tired when your get into bed.
You can try out relaxation techniques if you feel anxious whenever you try to get sleep. Muscle relaxation and breathing exercises are good examples of such techniques.
7. Get into a Routine
Develop a routine for going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
All of us have an internal body clock that tells us that we are tired and that it is time to go to bed as well as when to wake up.
It is why people usually yawn when time for going to bed comes and wake up at the same time every day, even when they don’t have an alarm clock.
If you stick to your usual routine, it will help your internal body clock adjust so that you feel sleepy at the appropriate time every night and fall asleep faster.
8. Don’t Clock Watch
Avoid looking at the time on your alarm clock repeatedly when lying awake in bed or ‘clock watching’.
It can keep you awake by making you anxious for failing to fall asleep.
Some people find that it helps to get out of bed to do something such as reading a book if they are lying awake for too long and then going back to bed once they feel tired again, usually after 15 to 20 minutes or so.
Others find that a bath taken early in the evening helps too.