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How Improving Sleep Quality Can Lead to Better Mental Health

Enjoy better sleep for a happier mind

Few things compare to the feeling of waking up refreshed after a good night's sleep. The Danish even have a term for it: MORGENFRISK (pronounced “mor-gen-frisk"). This simple concept highlights the role sleep plays in influencing the way we feel.

Many factors can get in the way of waking MORGEN (‘morning’) FRISK (‘fresh’). New parenthood, travel, heat and poor sleep habits are common sleep-disruptors. Clock changes and travel can also disrupt our sleep. We look at what you can do to sleep your way to better mental health.


What causes sleep problems?

Sleep problems affect nearly 1 in 5 people in the UK according to Mental Health UK. While a few sleepless nights may not be cause for concern, long stretches of bad sleep can harm our overall health and wellbeing. Aside from feeling tired, sleep deprivation commonly triggers negative moods such as anger, irritability and sadness, and less of the feel-good emotions such as joy.

There can be all sorts of triggers for sleep problems, but common ones include:

Sleep environment: Factors such as temperature, night-time noise, and the bright lights from electronic devices and other external sources can delay the onset of sleep.

Life experiences: Stress or worry can activate the body’s ‘fight or flight response’ which releases hormones that increase alertness and make it hard to wind down.

Thinking cycle: Poor sleep leads to worrying. Worrying leads to poor sleep. Worrying about whether you’ll sleep or not can become a vicious cycle that’s hard to break.

Lifestyle factors: Good bedtime habits, such as going to bed at the same time each day, help to develop a healthy circadian rhythm and keep your sleep-wake cycle regular.

“Good sleep is the key to a good life - when we sleep well, we look and feel better. We‘re also more energised and motivated to make choices that support our long-term health and well-being.”
Allie Lewis, sleep specialist and founder of Wide Asleep


Importance of a cosy sleep space and routine

While poor sleep and stress symptoms such as depression, tension and anxiety often amplify each other, stress can also stem from the bedroom itself. A bedroom that is too cold, hot, light, noisy or cluttered can induce feelings of stress and anxiety. Conversely, a comfortable, inviting bedroom promotes calmness and relaxation, leading to a more restful night's sleep.

Sleep well tips

“A comfortable, cool, calm bedroom is vital for sleeping well”, says sleep therapist Allie Lewis. You can create an environment that appeals to all your senses and invites restful sleep by: 

Keeping it clutter-free: Think like Marie Kondo and clear away unnecessary items to create a calming environment. Read our expert guide to creating a clutter-free storage environment.  

Choosing calming colours: Opt for soothing colors such as soft blues, greens, or neutrals to promote relaxation. You could also add some designer touches for added cosiness and comfort. 

Controlling the lighting: Replace light-emitting curtains with curtains that block out unwanted light. Lights with stepless dimming can also help to prepare the body for sleep. 

Regulating the temperature: Aim for a room temperature between 16-18 degrees so it’s neither too hot or cold which can disturb sleep. 

Minimising noise: Use noise cancelling earplugs or white noise machines to block out disruptive sounds and create a peaceful sleep environment.

Establishing a sleep schedule: Get up and go to bed at the same time every day to regulate the body's internal clock.

Investing in quality bedding and bed linen: Think like a luxury hotel buyer with linen that’s the perfect mix of style, comfort and utility. Get to know your goose feather pillow from your microfibre pillows in our guide to the best hotel pillows.

 

If you’ve stayed in luxury hotels such as The Dorchester, Claridge’s or one of The Pigs, you’ll know that while every hotel is different, they all offer a fantastic night’s sleep. With premium white linens, a duck feather pillow and hotel quality duvet, our curated bedding bundles help you enjoy the same 5* star luxury night after night.

 

When to get help with sleep problems

The mental health and sleep relationship can feel like a “which came first, the chicken or egg?” scenario. Mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and stress can mess with your sleep, making it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep or get the rest you need. Conversely, poor sleep can exacerbate existing mental health conditions.

You can find some tips on how to fall asleep faster in our Between the Sheets blog series, but if sleep is really impacting your life or causing distress, seek professional advice. You can also call The Sleep Charity National Sleep Helpline for support from a trained sleep advisor.