Sleep and Mental Health
There is a close relationship between sleep and mental health. Experiencing poor mental wellbeing can affect how well you sleep, and poor sleep can have a negative impact on your mental health. Studies show that as well as linking to our mental health, the pattern and quality of our sleep is closely linked to our immune system, our brain function, mood, blood pressure and physical health.
In short, sleep is a fundamental foundation for overall health.
When we experience challenges to our mental health this can have an impact on our sleep pattern.
We have no control over what happens when we sleep but we can control what we do throughout the day to prepare for a better night’s sleep. Sleep hygiene and the environment in which we go to sleep are really important.
The Mental Health Foundation suggests:
- Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine that lets you unwind and sends a signal to your brain that it's time to sleep.
- Create a restful environment: bedrooms that are dark, cool and quiet are generally easier to fall asleep and stay asleep in.
- Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.
- Exercise regularly but avoid vigorous exercise near bedtime if it affects your sleep.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. They can stop you falling asleep and prevent deep sleep.
- Only use your bed for sleep or sex. Unlike most physical activity, sex makes us sleepy.
- Try apps and online programmes designed to help with sleep problems such as Pzizz, Sleepio or Sleepstation.
- Avoid using screens in the evening, including on smartphones and tablets. The light from the screen can have a negative effect on sleep, and social media, news and games can all stimulate your brain and make you feel anxious.
- Write down your worries if you lie awake worrying about tomorrow. This can help put your mind at rest.
- If you can't sleep, don't worry about it. Get up and do something relaxing like listening to music or reading until you feel sleepy.
You can call the National Sleep Helpline on 03303 530 541 to speak to trained sleep advisors. They are available Sunday – Thursday, 7pm – 9pm. Please note you will be charged your standard network rate.
If poor sleep is affecting your daily life or causing you distress, call NHS 111 or talk to your GP.
For Parents/Carers, Children and Young People
Scope has a Sleep Right podcast sharing knowledge and tips to help disabled children and their families to get a good night’s sleep.
Sleep – a guide for parents of autistic children by the National Autistic Society.
Hampshire Healthy Families provides information on a range of topics including sleep, and also signposts to the anonymous text messaging support service ChatHealth for parents/carers and young people.
Young Minds Sleep Problems: a guide for young people.
Teen Sleep Hub has information for young people and parents/carers.
Hampshire Camhs offer some advice on sleep including links to apps that might help.
Every Mind Matters sleep information.
The NHS has information about sleep and tiredness.
Sleep – a guide for autistic adults by the National Autistic Society.
If you are frequently waking up in the night to use the toilet, read more about Nocturia and how to prevent it What is Nocturia? – Bladder and Bowel UK Blog.
It’s not unusual to experience trouble sleeping as one of the symptoms of anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD or phobias. However, sleep can be affected by many things, in many ways, so these services do not offer a generic solution for sleep. Instead, they aim to help you achieve your wellbeing goals in a way that is tailored to you and the symptoms you are experiencing. The services are free of charge on the NHS for adults aged 16+, registered with a Hampshire GP.
TalkPlus for residents in Rushmoor, Fleet and Yateley, has produced a Getting Better Sleep video. They also offer CBT for insomnia. You can self-refer online at https://www.talkplus.org.uk/ or call 01252 533355.
italk for residents in Alton, Andover, Basingstoke, Bordon, Eastleigh, Fareham, Gosport, Havant, New Forest, Petersfield, Romsey and Winchester offers a range of treatments for symptoms of anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD or phobias. Self-refer and book your initial assessment online at www.italk.org.uk or call 023 8038 3920. Assessment appointments are typically available within two weeks and are held as a 30-45 minute phone call with one of our practitioners.
Or you can get started straightaway with of their easy-access options, which are available without needing an assessment for people with milder symptoms.
SilverCloud, our online CBT programme. There’s no waiting list and you do not need to commit to regular appointments, simply sign up online. It is available 24/7 from any device and offers a wide range of content so you can choose the most relevant topics to you.
Our classes and courses teach insights into how symptoms arise, and self-help techniques for managing them. They offer specific classes for carers, military partners, people living with Long Covid, or diabetes, for more tailored guidance.