In this modern world of constant sensory stimulation, it’s hard to stay in a healthy sleep pattern. Especially if you have a mental illness: according to Harvard Medical School, mentally ill people are up to eight times likelier to suffer from chronic sleep issues like insomnia and sleep apnea. However, just about every health professional I’ve talked to has agreed that easily the very first thing most people should do to fix their sleep habits is wake up at the same time every day. If you can manage to do that (as well as keep up other good sleep hygiene practices like avoiding naps, alcohol, caffeine and screen time late in the day, and not reading in bed), you’ll be tired at the same time every day, which will make it easier to establish a consistent bedtime, and your sleep will be on its way to naturally sorting itself out, chronic condition or not. I am a strong proponent of this strategy: in less than a month I went from being hospitalized for sleep deprived hallucinations, to getting 9 solid hours at the same time every night, mainly because I started forcing myself up at the same time every day. The first few weeks aren’t easy. But almost anything is better than bad sleep.
One thought on “Mental Health Tip of the Day: Getting Your Sleep on Track”
The importance of finding a good sleep schedule and making ways to stick to it was one of the first things my therapist taught me, and I’ve always been grateful. I’ve found my sleep is the first thing to get disrupted when I’m headed for troubled times, and if I can get it back to a stable schedule it helps everything else stay a little more stable and manageable as well.