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  • Writer's pictureJesse Liu

Sleep and Mental Health

Welcome back to my blog! For my 18th blog post, I have decided to write about sleep and mental health. This topic is personal to me because I have sleep issues at times, and sleep is very important to one’s mental health.

There is generally a positive correlation between the quality of sleep and the quality of one’s mental health. According to scientific studies, poor sleep is generally associated with mental health issues, and mental health conditions, like anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, etc, can cause sleep problems or exacerbate them. These sleep problems are generally known to be similar to the state of insomnia, during which one cannot sleep well.

Even though I am medicated and treated properly for my bipolar disorder, I too face sleep issues, although they cannot be completely categorized as insomnia. For example, there can be times when I wake up in the middle of the night or have trouble going back to sleep. This may be because I have racing thoughts, which are common in one with bipolar disorder or other types of mental illnesses.

Let me now discuss how I personally try to mitigate these sleep issues that I have from time to time. The first major key to sleeping well, in my opinion, is to live a healthy lifestyle. This means exercising regularly, and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption or any drug use. If I consume alcohol during a happy hour or a social gathering, I limit myself to one or two beverages maximum. Furthermore, I have never consumed any tobacco product or recreational drug before or after my bipolar diagnosis, and I don’t plan on changing that status. Drug use can cause sleep issues, and the last thing I want is constant negative sleeping patterns combined with serious mental health issues.

Another way to improve one’s sleep is to engage in mediation and deep breathing exercises. Try to meditate or conduct yoga about 30 minutes before you go to bed to stabilize your breathing and heart rate. And once you’re in bed, you can engage in deep breathing exercises, which will inevitably calm you down and slow down any rapid heart beat that may make it difficult to fall asleep.

Eating healthy foods is also important in inducing good sleep. Having a balanced diet will regulate heart rate and make it easier to fall asleep naturally. On the contrary, eating lots of fats and sugars will not contribute to a good night’s sleep as much as a balanced diet. In addition, this may be old news, but consuming caffeine or energy drinks before bed will definitely interfere with one’s quality of sleep.

Let me say that some people find sleep medication to be effective in allowing them to fall asleep. For me personally, I tend to avoid any extra medication from my current combination of bipolar medication because every medication has its additional side effects. I’ve personally tried different types of sleep medication, but I was deterred by the side effects that I experienced, such as trembling and memory loss. But my friend who is bipolar, uses sleep medications and lauds the positive effects that they have had on his sleep quality.

Turning off electronic devices or refraining from using them about 30 minutes from bedtime can also be effective in sleeping well. Studies have shown that staring at the screen for too long before bed-time interferes with quality sleep, so it can be best to take a break from the phone before going to bed.

In short, thank you for reading my blog on sleep and mental health. I hope you find these strategies effective in improving mental health. For additional reads on mental health and fitness, please check out my other blog posts on my blog site. Also, feel free to subscribe to my blog via email at the bottom of the home page if you are interested in reading more of my blogs. In addition, definitely feel free to share my blog with friends and family. Thank you so much!

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I've been living with bipolar disorder since 2018 and I'm trying to overcome it by helping others with mental health issues/conditions!

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