5 mins

Sleep is food for the psyche – not getting enough? Read this.

Sleep is food for the psyche – not getting enough? Read this.

Nothing beats a good night’s sleep. Feeling rested, revitalised, calm and fresh are just some of the instant benefits of proper sleep. Not to mention enhanced levels of creativity, clarity of thought and an agility of mind that enables you to connect the dots that others can’t see. A good night’s sleep can process worry thoughts that circulate like clouds in our sky-like minds, enabling the sun to shine through unhindered the next day.

In this article, we’re going to explore how to achieve great sleep, and how sleep is truly essential for good mental health. If for any reason your sleep has been compromised lately, it’s important to investigate this further and you can always do this by contacting a member of our team.

Waking up in the middle of the night?

If you’re typically a good sleeper, and generally have long stretches at a time where it’s easy to get good sleep, and then you notice a change – it’s really important to investigate why this may be happening, as soon as you notice the change.

This is because the quality of our sleep is often one of the first indicators of the quality of our mental health. When sleep patterns change, people usually brush it off and carry on as normal. They don’t realise there’s a strong connection between sleep and mental health. If you seek help at this early stage, you can often save yourself from bigger problems down the track.

As noted by mind.co.uk“poor sleep leads to worrying. Worrying leads to poor sleep. Worrying about sleep is like your mind trying to fight itself. That’s a horrible place to be.”

Mental health problems related to poor sleep

When clients present sleep problems as their first symptom, we take time at the clinic to understand exactly what the deeper issues are. Sleep problems can be like the tip of an iceberg, and sometimes it takes time to understand exactly how big the underlying iceberg is.

Sleep problems can sometimes lead to the following:

  • depression, anxiety
  • nightmares, nocturnal panic attacks
  • attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • schizophrenia
  • bipolar disorder

Techniques to bring back a sound mind

We devise specific programmes to help our clients regain both sound sleep and good mental health. Depending on the underlying issues, we may use Cognitive Behavioural intervention to solve the symptoms of poor sleep, alongside formulating an understanding of the deeper cause that created changes in the first place.

We also devise programmes tailored specifically to our clients to teach them the importance of sleep hygiene and how to implement those principles in their life. While this can be extensive depending on the unique life situation of the person we’re working with at the time, we can give you some general insights below.

Tips on creating good sleep hygiene

Creating good sleep hygiene will require you to make changes to your daily routine. Some simple tips like ‘going to bed at the same time everyday’ may seem simple enough – but we really do mean everyday. Which means no staying up late on a Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday. This won’t always be possible, but if you can keep the hours as close to your regular schedule as possible, that helps.

No coffee in the afternoon is also another one that people generally find hard to change. In fact, this leads to another quick way to discover how good a person’s sleep is – simply ask them how they feel at about 2/3pm in the afternoon? If the answer is that it’s hard to get through without a pick-me-up like sugar or coffee, then you know this person’s sleep could do with regulating.

  • Decide that sleep is an important priority in your life 
  • Limit naps to a shorter duration 
  • Sleep and rise at the same time everyday 
  • Keep the room where you sleep cool, comfortable and inviting 
  • Use sleep eye-masks or blackout curtains to keep the room dark enough at night and make sure enough light can come in to wake you up the next morning 
  • Don’t drink coffee or take caffeinated drinks after 3pm 
  • Eat dinner at least 2-3 hours before sleeping so you have enough time for digestion 
  • Avoid bright lights after sundown, by using soft lamps at home and avoid contact with digital devices (mobiles, laptop etc) at least an hour before bed 
  • Avoid alcohol before bed, while you may think it helps you relax, it can actually cause problems for attaining good sleep 
  • Make sure you are active during the day, so that you feel naturally tired at night 
  • Keep a diary or a to-do list, so you can jot the contents of your mind before you sleep, so that thoughts don’t keep you up at night 
  • If friends tell you about their wild all-nighters, tell them how good you feel after a great night’s sleep 
  • There are many more tips that we would include in a tailor made programme that caters to your unique issues 

We’ve helped countless people make life-changing improvements to both their sleep patterns and their mental health over the years. If you would like to discuss how we can help, then please do contact us for a confidential chat.

Dr Elena Touroni

Dr Elena Touroni

14 March 2019

"Dr. Elena Touroni is a skilled and experienced Consultant Psychologist with a track record of delivering high-quality services for individuals with all common emotional difficulties and those with a diagnosis of personality disorder. She is experienced in service design and delivery, the management of multi-disciplinary teams, organisational consultancy, and development and delivery of both national and bespoke training to providers in the statutory and non-statutory sector."

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Dr Stacie Tay

Dr Stacie Tay attained her BSc (Hons) Psychology at the University of Nottingham and worked as a psychologist at the Institute of Mental Health, Singapore, before returning to the UK to complete her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University College London.   

Dr Tay has worked in a variety of settings within the NHS for more than eight years, including primary and secondary care, specialist psychological services and forensic inpatient settings. She currently works as a Clinical Psychologist at the North East London Foundation Trust.  

She has extensive experience working with individuals and groups, providing evidence-based psychological therapies including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and Mindfulness-based approaches as well as Schema-informed therapy.   

Dr Tay’s clinical experience involves working with people who present with a range of mild to severe mental health difficulties. This includes depression, anxiety (OCD, social anxiety, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, health anxiety, phobia-related disorders, PTSD), stress related issues, low self-esteem, complex trauma, interpersonal difficulties, grief and bereavement, and long-term health conditions.