sleep hygiene.png

Unlock Better Mental Health with Improved Sleep Hygiene

Sleep plays a crucial role in maintaining our mental and physical health, yet it's often overlooked in discussions about mental well-being. Poor sleep hygiene can lead to a range of mental health issues, affecting everything from our daily mood to our long-term mental health. This is particularly pertinent for individuals experiencing conditions such as insomnia, which can severely impact one's quality of life and exacerbate symptoms of mood disorders.

In this blog, we'll explore the importance of good sleep hygiene, identify factors that contribute to poor sleep, discuss the mental health consequences of inadequate sleep, and offer tips for improving sleep hygiene. We'll also highlight how Innerspace Counseling's programs, including Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), can support individuals in achieving better sleep and mental health, with a focus on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Insomnia, a common issue among perinatal individuals and those with mood disorders.

The Importance of Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene refers to the practices and habits that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis. Good sleep hygiene is essential for our mental and physical health, as it helps to regulate mood, improve brain function, and increase resilience to stress. Unfortunately, many people struggle with poor sleep hygiene due to a variety of factors, leading to significant mental health problems. This is especially true for those saying, "I can't sleep through the night," a common complaint among individuals suffering from anxiety and depression.

Factors Contributing to Poor Sleep Hygiene

Several factors can disrupt our sleep patterns, including:

  • Stress and Anxiety: High levels of stress and anxiety can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. This is a common issue faced by individuals dealing with mental health disorders, highlighting the intricate relationship between sleep and mental health.
  • Irregular Sleep Schedules: Inconsistent sleep schedules can confuse our body's internal clock, making it harder to establish a healthy sleep routine.
  • Overexposure to Screens: The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with our natural sleep-wake cycle, making it more challenging to fall asleep.
  • Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption: Consuming caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime can disrupt sleep quality and duration.
  • Poor Sleeping Environment: An uncomfortable sleeping environment, including a room that's too hot or cold, too noisy, or not dark enough, can significantly impact one's ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. The quality of your mattress and pillow can also affect sleep quality.
  • Medications: Certain medications can have side effects that disrupt sleep. For example, some antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines can interfere with sleep patterns. It's important to discuss any sleep-related side effects of medications with a healthcare provider.

The Mental Health Consequences of Poor Sleep

Inadequate sleep can lead to a range of mental health issues, including:

  • Increased Anxiety and Depression: Lack of sleep can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and depression, creating a vicious cycle of mental health problems and sleep disturbances.
  • Impaired Cognitive Function: Poor sleep can affect our ability to think clearly, make decisions, and remember information.
  • Elevated Risk of Suicidal Thoughts: Chronic sleep problems are linked to an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, especially among adolescents and adults with preexisting mental health issues.
  • Heightened Emotional Reactivity: Sleep deprivation can lead to increased emotional reactivity, making individuals more susceptible to stress and less able to cope with daily challenges. This heightened sensitivity can exacerbate existing mental health problems and create difficulties in managing emotions effectively.
  • Worsening of Psychiatric Disorders: For those with existing mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or PTSD, lack of sleep can worsen symptoms. It can trigger manic episodes in those with bipolar disorder, increase paranoia or hallucinations in individuals with schizophrenia, and intensify flashbacks and other PTSD symptoms.

Tips for Improving Sleep Hygiene

  • Establish a Regular Sleep Schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps regulate your body's internal clock.
  • Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine: Engage in calming activities before bed, such as reading or taking a warm bath, to signal to your body that it's time to wind down.
  • Limit Screen Time Before Bed: Reduce exposure to screens at least an hour before bedtime to minimize the impact of blue light on your sleep.
  • Watch Your Intake of Stimulants: Avoid consuming caffeine or alcohol in the hours leading up to bedtime to improve sleep quality.
  • Exercise Regularly: Engaging in regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper sleep. However, it's important to avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime as it can energize you, making it harder to fall asleep.
  • Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: Practices such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or gentle yoga before bed can help calm the mind and prepare the body for sleep. These techniques can reduce stress and anxiety, which are common barriers to restful sleep.
  • Optimize Your Sleep Environment: Make your bedroom conducive to sleep by keeping it cool, dark, and quiet. Consider using blackout curtains, eye masks, earplugs, or white noise machines to create an ideal sleeping environment. Ensuring your mattress and pillows are comfortable and supportive can also improve sleep quality.

How Innerspace Counseling Can Help

Innerspace Counseling offers comprehensive treatment options for individuals struggling with sleep-related mental health issues. Our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) are designed to provide targeted support for those dealing with the consequences of poor sleep hygiene.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), a core component of our programs, is particularly effective in addressing the thoughts and feelings that contribute to sleep disturbances. For individuals specifically struggling with insomnia or sleep disruptions related to mood disorders, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Insomnia can be an invaluable part of treatment, offering strategies to combat problems with sleeping and improve the connection between sleep and mental health.


Sleep hygiene is an essential aspect of mental health care that often goes overlooked. By understanding the factors that contribute to poor sleep and the mental health consequences that can result, individuals can take proactive steps to improve their sleep hygiene and overall well-being. Innerspace Counseling is committed to supporting children, adolescents, and adults in their journey toward better mental health through our specialized programs and therapies, including CBT and DBT. With the right support and treatment plan, overcoming sleep-related mental health problems is within reach.