The right time to sleep for good mental health
In this fast-paced Western society we are constantly connected and 247 available, our daily usage data flows and we have a growing expectation to respond immediately. Given all of this, we need to work or grow at an ‘optimal’ level, not just at a ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’ level in terms of our mental health.
The best means is that we are working at a higher level mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, as we are able to deal with the demands of life. If we operate at a sub-optimal level, it is more difficult for us to perform the basics of our life functions.
So how do we make sure our health and wellness levels are what they should be?
A key contributor to long-term mental health and well-being is ensuring us 7-9 hours of good quality sleep every night.
Sleep repairs the body. It has a positive knock-on effect on how you work cognitively in the next and subsequent days. When we sleep, we sleep in 60-90 minute cycles. The right time to sleep for good mental health at that time we sway in deep (so-called delta) sleep where the body repairs itself and in light RM sleep.
REM (rapid eye movement) sleep or light sleep removes information from your short-term memory to your long-term memory. This helps you to better remember the information absorbed on a daily basis. In this REM stage of sleep, your eyes quickly move from side to side (hence the name) and that you dream.
Getting to bed at the right time (typically 10 pm) and getting the right amount of sleep each night keeps your circadian rhythm going. Your circadian rhythm is a natural body clock that signals you when to sleep and when to wake up. Working shift patterns (especially night shifts) can knock it out of balance which can have big consequences not only for your mental and physical health but also for your abdominal health.
Lack of good quality sleep means that instead of being fully awake and alert during the day, you may find yourself sleepless, restless and unable to concentrate for any significant amount of time. Also, you may feel ‘tired and bored’ when you are in bed at night (which means your body is physically tired, but your mind is awake and so you can’t sleep).
Melatonin, the hormone that prepares your body for sleep, and serotonin (your waking hormone) need to be balanced to get you to work at the best time of the day. This means melatonin kicks naturally around 8 pm (to help you sleep) while serotonin frees you up for the rest of the day. When this melatonin, serotonin cycle is in balance you are fully awake during the day and sleep at night (when you should be). Instead, it means you get a better night’s sleep.
So if you value your health and wellness, never underestimate the power of sleep. Good quality sleep not only helps us to work more effectively, but it also boosts our immunity, helping us to fight off viruses and other infections that we can easily catch with inferior levels and quality of sleep.
Sleep is, therefore, one of the main pillars of amazing health and wellness. Without it, we can not only keep ourselves in balance over time but also try to open ourselves up to chronic fatigue situations like ME, chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. These conditions can be debilitating and can leave us bedridden or wheelchair-bound if not maintained.
One of the key ways to take care of your mental health, in the long run, is to make sure you not only get your 7-9 hours of sleep but you also make sure you go to bed at the right time to increase your chances of getting a better night.