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sleep and mental health

sleep and mental health

There is a common link between sleep and mental health. This can present a repeating cycle that might lead to experiencing anxiety and other mental health conditions

Living with a mental health condition can cause sleep problems, and similarly, sleep problems can have a negative impact on your mental health. This can present a repeating cycle that might lead to experiencing anxiety and other mental health conditions.

Sleep problems can come in various forms. For example, you might:

  • Have disturbed sleep cause by nightmares or flashbacks
  • Find it hard to get out of bed or wake up
  • Find it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or wake up earlier than your body needs

Causes of sleep problems

Mental health problems can be very disruptive to sleep. Even if you manage to achieve some sleep throughout the night, you might have poor sleep quality due to the nature of the rest. There are many different mental health conditions that can affect your sleep which results in poor sleep quality. A few could be:

  • PTSD can cause flashbacks or nightmares which prevent you from sleeping
  • Depression can make it much harder to get up after you’ve slept
  • Anxiety can cause unwanted and repetitive thoughts that make you unable to fall asleep
  • Psychosis may cause you to hear or see frightening things that you can’t fall asleep with
  • Stress can make you feel like you’re under too much pressure to fall asleep or get out of bed

Steps to help

Being stuck in this repeating cycle can negatively impact your day to day life. For example it might feel impossible to leave your bed in the morning, or you might be too exhausted from lack of sleep to leave the house – both of which can result in isolation that effects your day to day life. Here are some suggestions to improve sleep problems:

  • Exercise as often as you can: Your body will be worn out from the physical activity which should allow you to sleep better, and the endorphins that come with the exercise will improve your mood
  • Avoid alcohol, recreational drugs, and caffeine: These substances may feel like they are regulating your sleep cycle, but they can negatively impact your mental health which in turn will negatively affect your sleep quality
  • Avoid screens: Screens can be very overstimulating for the brain; it is a good idea to avoid them at least an hour before bedtime so your brain can properly relax
  • Stay hydrated and well nourished: Looking after your physical body by drinking lots of water and eating good food is imperative for good mental health and should improve your quality of sleep.


Our Advice and Support Service is open Monday to Friday, 10 am to 4 pm, where advisers can signpost you to local support that most fits your needs, including our Change Mental Health services. We offer initial advice on money worries and help to deal with emergencies.

Contact 0808 8010 515, email us at or fill out the enquiry form on the Advice and Support Service page.

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