ARTICLES, HEALTHY LIVING & WELL BEING. EATING DISORDERS
Improving Sleep for Mental Health
Around one-third of Canadian young people aren’t getting enough sleep, and the impact on mental and physical health is substantial. Teenagers need around 9 hours of sleep per night in order to deliver in school, on the track, at music practice, and wherever else they focus their energy.
The relationship between sleep and mental health is well documented; without good rest opportunities, mental health issues can worsen, and in some cases, treatments can become less effective.
So how can you create the right environment for rest?
As a teenager, bedrooms are often the center of the universe; it’s where homework happens, social arrangements get WhatsApped and TV shows are watched on iPads.
With all of life happening here, it can be tricky to switch off and view this room as a place of rest, but that’s what parents need to help their teenagers do.
New research has shown that TVs in bedrooms affect health and wellbeing, so as a priority, try to agree on a policy of watching shows downstairs if possible. This also opens up opportunities to discuss issues that shows may raise, creating that all-important dialogue between parents and teens.
Encouraging everyone (adults included) to charge mobiles downstairs overnight also helps to reduce the temptation to check messages late into the night, and removes the blue-light emissions which can disrupt the body’s natural sleep cycle.
Create a nest
The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends keeping your room cool, dark and quiet overnight to promote better sleep.
You can make it really cozy by choosing dimmable lighting which helps the body wind down for sleep during the evening. Leave a window open slightly so that fresh air can circulate. Finally, choose the most comfortable bed you can afford; look up mattress reviews for advice on firmness and quality, so that you can feel confident you’re buying a product which will last.
The more cozy and comfortable a space you can create, the better the resulting sleep should be.
For the ideal bedroom colour palette, research has shown that blues and greens promote calmness, making them ideal for sleeping environments, as well as helping to reduce anxiety and stress in general.
If you don’t want to commit to redecoration, keep walls neutral and bring in your colour scheme with blue bedding and green house plants, which can also help to purify the air. Avoid strong colours such as reds and oranges, which can release adrenaline and prevent the body from relaxing to sleep. Keep those for your wardrobe, when you spring out of bed ready to face the day.
Not getting enough good quality sleep can increase the risk of developing particular mental health issues and exacerbate existing conditions, so creating the right environment is really important.
For young people, bedrooms are often the hub of activities, so reclaiming them as a space for sleep is a practical way to help. Try to go screen-free and make them cozy, calming spaces for rest which truly restores and refreshes your teen.
Written by Jackie Edwards