Home » Sleep » The intrinsic link between a good night’s sleep and mental wellbeing

Interview with Anant Naik

Spokesperson, Mental Health UK

Sleep has a positive impact on our lives in all sorts of ways. Spring is a great time to make simple changes to improve our sleeping patterns and increase our sense of wellbeing.

Want to feel more alert, refreshed and ready to take on the challenges of the day? Then get a good night’s sleep. That’s because getting the right amount of shut-eye for your needs can boost your daytime performance, mental wellbeing and emotional regulation.1 Quality sleep has a range of physical health benefits too, including the promotion of weight regulation, heart health, immune functioning and even vaccine response.2

So, if you’re looking to increase your mental and physical wellbeing, then improving your sleep is a great place to start. “Nearly two years on from the first COVID lockdown, and coming out of a long winter, it’s understandable that some people are considering ways to improve their lives,” says a spokesperson from sleep brand, Nytol. “Sleep is so fundamental to our wellbeing that focusing on the amount of sleep we obtain, our sleep quality and timing makes good sense.3

The good news is that there are lots of simple habits you can start building to improve your sleeping patterns.

Changing sleep habits and setting a routine

Small changes can make a big difference to the quality of your sleep. “Improving our sleep is often seen as something that’s hard to achieve,” says Anant Naik, a spokesperson at the charity Mental Health UK, which is partnering with Nytol to campaign for more awareness of the interdependent connection between sleep and mental wellbeing. “But the good news is that there are lots of simple habits you can start building to improve your sleeping patterns and sense of wellbeing,” adds Naik. Some sleep habits to change include the time you go to bed, your sleeping environment12 and your lifestyle choices, such as reducing screen time before bed,13 avoiding caffeine drinks late at night, or writing down worries and problems before you get into bed.12

Plus, set yourself a routine and stick to it. Ensuring a consistent sleep-wake pattern can help our bodies prepare to be asleep — and awake — making it easier to nod off at night.6 While you might want to increase the amount of sleep, don’t try to get more than you need, because the quality of your sleep is likely to suffer.7 Guidelines indicate that most adults should aim for between seven and nine hours of sleep a night.8

That said, if you’re having trouble sleeping and are concerned about it, see your GP to rule out chronic sleep conditions.5

A season for new beginnings

With Spring being the season that is traditionally associated with new beginnings but also with longer days and shorter nights upon us, what better time to implement some new habits to help you drift off to dreamland.4

Another big benefit of spring is that it makes outdoor exercise more appealing. That’s great because regular exercise can help maintain a consistent circadian rhythm which supports a good night’s sleep — although make sure you avoid vigorous exercise late at night which can make falling sleep difficult.9 Finally, while the ambient temperature increases during spring, remember that we typically sleep best in cool environments (16-19 °C is sometimes recommended as the ideal temperature for adults).10

“Given the importance of sleep for so many aspects of our health, wellbeing and functioning during the day, it is essential that this third of our lives is not neglected,” says the Nytol spokesperson.11

Nytol One-A-Night Tablets contain diphenhydramine. An aid to the relief of temporary sleep disturbances in adults. Nytol Herbal Simply Sleep One-A-Night Tablets contain valerian root extract. Traditional herbal medicinal product for use in the temporary relief of sleep disturbances exclusively based on long-standing use as traditional remedies. Always read the leaflet. UK/2022-103

[1] Vandekerckhove, M., & Wang, Y.-L. (2017, December 1). Emotion, emotion regulation and sleep: An intimate relationship. AIMS neuroscience.
[2] Irwin, M. R. (2015, January 3). Why sleep is important for Health: A Psychoneuroimmunology Perspective. Annual review of psychology.
[3] Sleep matters – mental health foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/MHF-Sleep-Report-2011.pdf
[4] Honma K, Honma S, Kohsaka M, Fukuda N. Seasonal variation in the human circadian rhythm: dissociation between sleep and temperature rhythm. Am J Physiol. 1992 May;262(5 Pt 2):R885-91. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.1992.262.5.R885. PMID: 1590482.
[5] Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). (OSA) – Illnesses & conditions | NHS inform. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/lungs-and-airways/obstructive-sleep-apnoea
[6] How sleep is affected by the clocks going forward. The Sleep Charity. (2021, May 17). Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://thesleepcharity.org.uk/how-sleep-is-affected-by-the-clocks-going-forward/
[7] Improving sleep quality: How is it calculated? Sleep Foundation. (2021, June 24). Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/how-is-sleep-quality-calculated
[8] NHS. (n.d.). NHS choices. Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/how-to-get-to-sleep/#:~:text=Most%20adults%20need%20between%206,the%20same%20time%20every%20day.
[9] Dolezal, B. A., Neufeld, E. V., Boland, D. M., Martin, J. L., & Cooper, C. B. (2017). Interrelationship between sleep and exercise: A systematic review. Advances in preventive medicine. Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5385214/
[10] The best temperature for sleep: Advice & tips. Sleep Foundation. (2021, June 24). Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/bedroom-environment/best-temperature-for-sleep#:~:text=The%20best%20bedroom%20temperature%20for,for%20the%20most%20comfortable%20sleep.
[11] The importance of sleep. Mental Health Foundation. (2016, October 14). Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/blog/importance-sleep
[12] Sleep and mental health Mental Health Foundation https://mentalhealth-uk.org/help-and-information/sleep/#:~:text=Problems%20with%20sleep%20can%20affect
[13] How Electronics Affect Sleep Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-electronics-affect-sleep

Next article