Alaska Sleep Education Center

How a More Connected Life Can Lead To Better Sleep

Posted by Kevin Faber on Sep 21, 2022 1:16:00 PM

Its All About Relationships card with colorful background with defocused lights

While quality sleep is important for health and happiness, there are many adults who do not get an adequate amount of sleep each night. Whether stress is the culprit or a hectic lifestyle, there can be many reasons why good sleep gets put on the back burner. While it may seem difficult to get the sleep that you need, it doesn't have to be. Often, by making some simple life changes and tweaking the way that you look at your relationship to sleep, you can help resolve the issues that are preventing you from getting a good night's sleep, and start feeling more rested.

Connection With Friends and Family

One thing that many overlook when it comes to sleep is how interconnectedness plays into their sleep issues. The more disconnected that you feel from those in your life, the more likely you are to feel lonely and stay up browsing 1950 census records instead of going to bed. Loneliness can also lead to other sets of poor choices, like emotional eating, or consuming more alcohol, which can both be disruptors of sleep. 

The upside is that you don't have to let a sense of disconnection take over your life. By doing things like talking to your family and close friends more often, you can help build a greater sense of community around yourself. Not only that, but branching out from time to time and talking with long-lost family members or friends that you haven't caught up with in a while can help you to feel more supported and relaxed in your day-to-day life, and therefore more restful at night. 

Connection With Yourself

Not only do you need to consider your sense of connectedness with others in your life when you are thinking about sleep, but you also need to think about how connected you are to yourself, and your true desires. Many may ignore how they truly feel throughout the day just to get by and avoid conflict or inconveniences. While this can make sense to a point, it can be detrimental to your sleep quality. The less centered you are and the less in tune you are with what you want out of life and what your goals are, the more likely you will be to suffer from issues such as anxiety and depression. Both of these mental health concerns have ties to poor sleep. 

Even though getting connected with your needs and wants may not be a quick or simple process, there are things you can do to help foster a greater sense of self-awareness. Meditation can be a great way to get in better touch with yourself, as can keeping a journal. 

Connection With Your Body

A sense of connection with your body is important if you truly want to figure out what is at the root of your sleep issues. While there can be mental and emotional causes for poor sleep quality, there are often many physical and health-related ones, as well. For example, there are many health conditions that can lead to poor sleep, like heart conditions, and sleep apnea, to name a couple.

The foods that you eat and the kinds of activities that you participate in during the day can also have a lot to do with how well you are able to rest at night, too. For example, foods high in sugar and carbs can cause your blood sugar and energy levels to spike and then crash. This can mean uneven energy levels throughout the day, and it can also cause you to feel wide awake at night when you need to be resting. 

Alcohol and caffeine are two substances in particular that need to be considered when you are assessing your sleep. The reality is that while some think that a few drinks at night can be a good way to doze off, alcohol can disrupt your sleep cycles. So, while you may be able to fall asleep easily after drinking, it will likely be much more difficult to stay asleep or get deep rest. 

Caffeine is another major sleep disruptor, especially when consumed in the evening. While caffeine sensitivity levels can vary from person to person, any amount of caffeine that is consumed after the afternoon can potentially cause issues when you are ready to rest. This is due to the fact that caffeine can stay active in the system for up to several hours after it has been consumed. 

Learning to watch what you eat and pay attention to how it impacts you physically can be helpful for not only improving your diet but also for learning what foods will negatively affect you the most at night. The more that you can avoid these foods and choose healthier options, the better you are likely to feel at night. 

Exercise is another important component of physical connection to yourself. The more physically active you are throughout the day, the more tired you are likely to be at night. Additionally, exercise can help promote the production of sleep hormones. Getting at least 20 minutes of exercise each day can be a great way to help yourself be more prepared to sleep at bedtime. 

Connection With Your Surroundings

Connection with your surroundings is another meaningful factor when you are working to improve your sleep quality. The environment that you sleep in can directly impact how well you sleep. For example, if your bedroom is hot and stuffy, it can cause you to toss and turn instead of fall asleep. The same goes for a room that is too bright, or that is exposed to too much noise. 

Even though you may not always have complete control over your sleeping environment, changing the things that you do have control over can make a significant difference in your sleep quality. So, if you have a hot bedroom, turning the thermostat down or using a fan at night can be beneficial. If your room is too bright, then darkening blinds or curtains could be a good option, as could a sleep mask. A noisy room can be helped with noise-canceling panels, or with ear plugs. Developing some more awareness and connection to your sleeping space can not only make it more comfortable in general, but it can also support better sleep in a meaningful way. 

Last Thoughts

Getting good sleep is important for health. However, good sleep is not a reality for many. By taking some time to consider your connection to yourself and those around you, you can get a better idea of how connectedness impacts your sleep. This can help you cultivate a greater sense of peace and restfulness at night.

The relationship between sleep and mood is complex because disrupted sleep can lead to emotional changes, clinical depression or anxiety (as well as other psychiatric conditions), but these conditions can also compound or further disrupt sleep. In fact, altered sleep patterns are a hallmark of many mental health issues.

If you find yourself sleeping too little or too much on a regular basis, it's important to bring this up with your doctor so the two of you can look at your total physical and mental health picture and decide if further tests or a treatment plan is necessary. For more information on if you may be depressed, take this assessment from Mind Diagnostics.

Don't assume that a lack of healthy sleep is par for the course if you're struggling with a mental health issue. Be open about your sleep with your providers so they can help you understand exactly what role sleep is playing and how you can address it.

Alaska Sleep Clinic is the only sleep clinic in Alaska with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that specializes in sleep you can find it right here on our website.  We want to help you improve your sleep and your life.  Click the link below to learn more.

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Topics: alaska sleep clinic, therapies, mood, cbt, getting sleep, alaska, alaska sleep, promote better sleep, relationships, alaska sleep center

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