These are two things that are intrinsically linked. The better quality sleep you have, the better your overall mental health. And, typically, the better your overall mental health, the better quality sleep you have.
And yet sleep is often the most difficult thing to get in sufficient quantities or quality to maintain good mental health. It’s often one of the first things affected. Either you sleep more, or you sleep less. Or the quality just goes to crap. You’re able to track these things with sleep tracking apps (my favourite is Sleep Cycle, but that’s mainly because I used to use it years ago and I don’t like change) which give you a rough idea of how deeply you’ve slept, and the length of time you’ve slept. Its main use is looking blearily at it first thing in the morning wondering why on earth I feel like absolute crap and seeing very little deep sleep and going ‘oh, okay, that’s why’.
There are things I’ve found to improve sleep quality and quantity. One of them is dietary supplements. I’ve found magnesium (taken at night – I don’t know if this actually has an affect) calms the nerves and allows better quality sleep over a long period of time. Taking magnesium was the first step I took in my walk to wellness. I’ve also just started taking sublingual B12 drops, so we’ll see if that helps the muscle fatigue and aches and resistance to relaxation that plagues me.
Other than those two, I’ve found that I am able to fall asleep on the couch (not nap, no, this is proper sleep) when I have Forensic Files on the TV at a very specific volume. I apparently can no longer fall asleep in bed unless I have either the amazing human being or the amazing dog on / in the bed with me, so on evenings where amazing human being is doing his amazing human thing past my bedtime … I don’t go to bed. I put Forensic Files on, flip my hood over my face, and fall asleep on the couch. It works a lot better than trying to fall asleep in bed. And, bonus, I know I can zonk out early if I need to catch up on a bit of sleep.
Sometimes when sleep is being insanely stubborn, I’ll fall back on guided meditation to put me to sleep. It’s important to find the right guided meditation for you – some voices are going to agitate you, and aren’t going to sit right. Others deliver it in the wrong way. I prefer male voices, mainly because my ears are incredibly sensitive to treble, and I get very stressed when I’m trying to find something to soothe me and it just makes my ears hurt.
I’m not yet at the stage where I’m contemplating medication to help sleep, but I know of a lot of people who are, and who do. It’s important to note that if you need that much help to get to sleep, you need that much help to get you to sleep.
And now it’s time to fall asleep to Forensic Files, because I slept like crap last night.