Sleep and Mental Health go hand-in-hand by Anne Trapp Shirley

I know getting a good night’s sleep can really help my clients. I have seen much improvement in their symptoms when they are well rested-quality sleep is crucial to our overall well-being! There has been much research on this subject and researchers state up to 80 percent of people with mental health conditions can have sleep problems and that poor sleep quality and mental health issues are linked, with each one potentially causing the other.

“Inflammation is our biological response to stress, infection, and other environmental challenges. Research has shown that insomnia also contributes to increased inflammation. This combination (of) inflammation and insomnia then acts in a combined fashion, contributing to or exacerbating psychiatric illness,” Dr. James Greenblatt, the chief medical officer at the Walden Behavioral Center in Waltham, Massachusetts.


I have a few suggestions on how to ensure you have a good night’s sleep:

  • Make sure your bedroom is dark and cool.
  • Have a sleep schedule-go to bed at the same time and rise at the same time
  • Only use your bed for sleep
  • Avoid caffeine after 3:00 pm
  • Do not view any screens an hour before bedtime
  • Generally, try to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night to get the best mental and physical functioning. (Age can vary, at age 2 needs 14 hours, age 9 needs 12 hours, and age 40-old age needs 8 hours.)
  • Use of a weighted blanket, especially for restless leg syndrome.
  • Wearing a sleep tracking device
  • Have a good mattress and replace your old mattress after 7 years
  • Some researchers have suggested using supplements such as lavender or valerian, 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), magnesium, and melatonin.


If you have tried these suggestions and are still having problems with sleep, finding a qualified therapist to help you in resolving your sleep disturbances is of utmost importance for mental health and well-being, especially in the treatment of anxiety and depression.


Anne Trapp Shirley is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Clinical Supervisor in Orlando, Florida. She specializes in treating anxiety and has 20 years of experience encouraging clients by sending a message of hope that they can overcome life’s obstacles that get in the way of living their best life!