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Six tips to improve your sleep quality — and mental health

Poor sleep is linked to problems such as anxiety and depression. It can also affect your metabolism and immune system functioning. Better sleep will leave you feeling mentally sharp, emotionally balanced and full of energy all day long.
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Making these simple but important changes to your routine and bedtime habits can have a profound impact on how well you sleep:

  1. Have a bedtime routine to help you wind down. For example, to calm the mind and prepare for sleep, take a warm bath, read by a soft light, listen to soothing music, or practice a relaxation technique like deep breathing before bedtime. 
  2. Control your exposure to light. Avoid bright screens within one to two hours of your bedtime.
  3. Check your bedroom environment. Make sure your bedroom is as dark, cool and as quiet as possible. Black-out curtains and fans can help.
  4. Make time for regular exercise. Regular exercise can increase the amount of time you spend in the deep, restorative stages of sleep. Avoid exercising close to bedtime, however.
  5. Keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle (as much as possible). To help set your body’s internal clock and optimize the quality of your sleep, try to stick to a regular sleep-wake schedule, even on your days off. Needing to sleep in for several hours on weekends suggests you’re not getting enough sleep during the week.
  6. Keep an eye on what you drink. Limit caffeine and nicotine and avoid alcohol before bed, as they interfere with your sleep cycle. While some feel that alcohol may help you fall asleep, it actually interferes with sleep cycles, so the sleep will not be as restorative. Alcohol can also lead to other problems such as frequent waking or aggravated breathing problems.


Check out some of the following mindfulness apps:

Read more about sleeping better at HealthLinkBC.
BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services; mental health; self care
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