Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

The Connection Between Poor Mental Health Habits and Sleep Problems

You would be surprised how many things in life are cycles instead of specific events. For example, exercise. Doing exercise provides immediate benefits and long-term benefits. It’s not just one workout that makes the difference, but that single workout does help you create a repetitive cycle. The more you exercise, the more you see the benefits, and the more you like it, the more you exercise.

Of course, not all cycles are positive. Bad habits also reinforce bad habits. This can happen with diet choices: splurging on junk food can make you feel guilty, which causes depression, which makes you crave junk food.

Mental Health Cycles

The same thing goes for mental health. Good emotions translate into self-confidence, which creates positive experiences, which leads to good emotions. These repeating cycles can be good for you. They’re the equivalent of “wind in your sails” that push you in great directions.

Is it possible to fall into a negative rut when it comes to mental health? Absolutely, and the effects on your sleep quality can be devastating.

Ways To Break the Cycle

The good news is that humans are intelligent. You can break any cycle you want. You just need to put your mind to it. If you’re not sure how, check out popular self-help programs, such as 75 Hard. What is 75 Hard exactly? This type of program shows you how to unlock positive mental health habits instead of negative ones. That way, you have the strength to make the decisions you want to make instead of just going along with the flow in endless negative cycles.

Sleep and Mental Health

The irony is that sleep and mental health also have their own cycle. When you sleep well, it has a positive impact on your mind. You feel happier, you can concentrate better and you have more energy. In turn, those benefits help you get more done during the day. When you go to bed, you feel like you’ve accomplished a lot, and the result is — you guessed it — you sleep like a baby.

A poor night’s sleep has the opposite effect. It makes you irritable, gets in the way of your concentration and leaves you yawning all day long. You’re more likely to procrastinate, so you don’t finish all of your projects. When you try to sleep, you’re worried about all the things you still have to do tomorrow. This doesn’t let you sleep, and the cycle continues.

A Mental Health Checkup

To sleep better at night, it’s helpful to know what type of mental health mistakes to avoid. This isn’t any different from visiting the doctor for an annual checkup for your physical health. The main thing the doctor does is look at your tests and try to help you understand the underlying causes of what’s going on.

For example, if you have high blood pressure, the physicians generally provide recommendations for avoiding triggers, such as stress, certain foods or a sedentary lifestyle (sleep is good for your blood pressure, too). In the same way, avoiding some common bad habits for mental health can have huge benefits for sleep quality. The things you think about and the way you see yourself can be the reason you’re struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Positive Emotions and Accomplishments

First, make a quick list of the negative emotions you usually feel around bedtime. Everyone is different, so you need a personalized list to know what challenges to overcome. For some people, the list goes like this: regret, anxiety, guilt and stress. For others, the main problem is low self-esteem.

Next, make a list of the exact opposite of each emotion. This could include qualities such as peace of mind, self-confidence and acceptance.

When negative emotions show up near bedtime, go to your list to cancel them out. Force yourself to remember your past successes.  Instead of stressing over perfection, reinforce the goals you’ve already achieved and the ones you’re heading towards.