Sleep and mental health

Problems with sleep can affect how you feel physically and mentally, and how you feel can also affect how you sleep. It's recommended that adults need 6-8 hours of sleep per night. In reality, research has shown that almost 1 in 4 people in the UK aren't getting enough sleep.

What causes sleep problems?

Everyone experiences problems sleeping at times, we can wake up in the night, or have dreams that disturb our sleep. These problems will usually resolve themselves after a short period of time.

Problems with sleep are often caused by:

  • Life events: You may feel distracted, stressed or worried about something going on in your life while you’re trying to go to sleep, which can affect your ability to relax.
  • Thinking cycle: Anxious thoughts about not getting enough sleep can cause distress, which can prevent you from relaxing and falling asleep. This can become a vicious cycle.
  • Lifestyle: Developing poor habits around sleep, such as not having a regular routine, can cause problems.

It’s common to experience periods of poor sleep, but this doesn’t usually point to a serious mental health problem.

Effects of poor sleep on mental health

If you’re experiencing a period of bad sleep for weeks, months or years, this can affect your day-to-day life. Poor sleep can affect your energy levels, moods and how much you are able to concentrate. It can also have an impact on your relationships, work and social life.

The main issue associated with not getting enough good quality sleep is sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation is associated with poor mood and inability to control our emotions. This poor mood can then disrupt our sleep, creating a vicious cycle.

  • Poor focus, memory and concentration
  • More likely to consume caffeine and sugary drinks
  • More likely to take part in risky and anti-social behaviour
  • More likely to suffer from colds and infections
  • Less able to manage stress

If you are experiencing ongoing problems with sleeping, the best thing to do is make an appointment to see your GP.

Download our sleep tracker

If you’re worried about your sleep, keeping a sleep diary can be useful. Download our simple sleep tracker and to record many hours of sleep you’re getting and the quality of it. After 1 week, come back to this page to see what your results mean and for tips and ideas to help you improve your sleep.

Tips for getting a good nights sleep

Having conducted a survey with over 2000 Brits, Eve Sleep discovered that 79% of us struggle to switch off at bedtime and 60% of us wake up in the night with thoughts of work and other worries. The most common knock-on effects include tiredness, being less productive, being snappy and feeling over-emotional. Faye form Eve Sleep will help you to identify bad sleep patterns and offer some practical tips for improving your nights’ sleep.

  1. Create a regular sleeping pattern: Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time every day will programme your body to sleep better.
  2. Create a restful environment: Your bedroom should be a peaceful place for rest and sleep. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet and cool when you’re trying to sleep.
  3. Exercise regularly: Moderate exercise, such as swimming or walking, can help relieve some of the tension built up over the day. Try not to take part in vigorous exercise too close to bedtime though, as it could keep you awake.
  4. Watch what you’re eating and drinking: Cut down on caffeine in tea, coffee, energy drinks or colas, especially in the evening. Caffeine interferes with the process of falling asleep and also prevents deep sleep. Instead, have a warm, milky drink or herbal tea. Too much food or alcohol, especially late at night, can interrupt your sleep patterns. Alcohol may help you to fall asleep initially, but it will disrupt your sleep later on in the night.
  5. Keep a sleep diary: If you’re worried about your sleep why not keep track of how many hours you’re sleeping and why – you may see a pattern of behaviour which you can address. You can download our sleep tracker here. 
  6. Wind down routine: Learning how to relax both your body and mind will help you to get to sleep more easily. Have a warm bath, listen to quiet music or do some gentle yoga to relax the mind and body.
  7. Write down your thoughts: If you tend to lie in bed thinking about everything you have to do tomorrow, set aside time before bedtime to make plans for the next day. Avoid doing these things when you’re in bed, trying to sleep.
  8. If you can’t sleep, get up: If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again, then go back to bed.

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