Have you been having difficulty getting adequate sleep? You’re not alone. In fact, according to the CDC, about 70 million Americans suffer from sleep dysfunction. Most Americans turn to sleep aids to improve the quality of their sleep. According to Consumer Reports, 41% of people who use over-the-counter sleep aids such as melatonin reported taking them for a year or longer, while 48% use them several times a week.
Working long hours can cut into our sleep, putting us at higher risk for mental health burnout. In fact, sleep disturbances can be one of many signs of work burnout. Nearly 70% of remote work professionals say they now work on the weekends, and 45% say they regularly work more hours during the week than they did before. Fear and uncertainty about the economy and job stability can also contribute to the mismanagement of boundaries between work and personal life, providing the perfect storm for overworking – the consequences of working too much result in stress which contributes to various physical and mental health issues.
If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health challenges related to stress or nutrition, contact Clear Behavioral Healths at 877.799.1985 to learn how our mental health treatment in California can be of benefit.
The Effects of Stress on Nutrition and Sleep
Stress causes chronic sleep deprivation and contributes to physical health issues such as:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attacks
- Heart failure
Sleep deprivation that comes with stress also contributes to mental health issues, triggering anxiety and depression. Although most Americans turn to sleep aids for a quick and convenient solution, there are methods to try that don’t involve swallowing pills that offer more permanent solutions. Taking the time to make small lifestyle changes can help establish a healthy sleep routine.
Lifestyle Changes that Improve Nutrition and Sleep
The biggest impact on nutrition and sleep is the changing nature of American society during the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many people now working from home, the lines between work time, family time, personal time, and leisure time are blurred almost beyond recognition. Several changes can be made to the home environment to aid in nutrition and sleep quality. Some of these alterations to living habits include:
- Reducing the use of electronic devices in bed and keeping the bedroom quiet, dark, and cool are some other ways to help improve sleep. Electronic devices emit blue light, which boosts alertness by blocking your body’s ability to produce melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. According to WebMD, Americans spend an average of 7 hours a day on electronic devices, while 9 out of 10 Americans admit to reaching for an electronic device several nights each week before bedtime, so remember to keep your electronic devices out of your reach before bedtime.
- Creating a designated workspace outside of the bedroom can help promote a healthy sleep environment and restore the body’s ability to recognize an area of rest.
- Stick to a routine sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time each day to maintain the regulation of your circadian rhythm (your sleep/wake cycle).
- Avoid lying awake in bed in the mornings for long periods. This can cause your brain to link wakefulness to being in bed.
- Establish a daytime routine that includes movement, scheduled meal times, and exposure to sunlight. Implementing a daily routine helps maintain your internal clock and improves your overall wellbeing.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy with a licensed therapist to help address cognitive and behavioral barriers to sleep and learn how to make changes to improve your quality of sleep.
- Give yourself a caffeine curfew: Caffeine can stay in your body for up to 10 hours. Try to cut yourself off by early afternoon to reduce caffeine interference with your sleep.
- Avoid eating too close to bedtime. This can cause acid reflux and disrupt sleep
- Incorporate sleep-boosting nutrients into your diet later in the day. Some examples include:
- Bananas contain an ample source of magnesium, a mineral that helps relax your body into a resting state
- Tart cherries can increase levels of melatonin in your body, which regulates sleep and wake cycles
- Chamomile tea contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which promotes sleep
- Rolled oats and rice can help increase serotonin levels
- Turkey and yogurt contain tryptophan, which can help your mind and body into a more relaxed state
Contact Clear Behavioral Healths for More Information on Sleep and Eating Habits
Making small changes can make a drastic difference in our physical and mental health. During stressful times, adequate sleep and nutrition are crucial for our minds and bodies to be more resilient against daily life stressors. While sleeping aids provide a temporary solution to sleep dysfunction, addressing the underlying factors that keep you awake at night is vital. Implementing lifestyle changes to ensure permanent solutions comes with seeking the professional help you may need.
Taking the first step is never easy, but we are here for you every step of the way. If you’re having difficulties getting a good night’s rest due to constant worry or burnout, call us today at 877.799.1985.