Sleep and Mental Health

Sleep and mental health are closely connected; a lack of sleep can negatively impact our mental health, and sleep disorders are often associated with existing mental illnesses. Sleep problems exist differently in everyone, but a sleep problem in general, is defined as poor sleep having a significant impact on day-to-day life.

Below are some tips to help get into a good sleep routine. These are foundational steps to getting a good sleep pattern, but sleep and problems with sleep can be different for everyone, so some of these strategies may not work.

  • Get into a routine

e.g. Getting into bed at a reasonable time and being consistent.

  • Relax before bedtime

e.g. having a bath, reading a book, listening to calming music

  • Try to make the sleeping environment as comfortable as possible

If you are sleeping space is cluttered, try your best to make it as tidy as possible

e.g. is your pillow comfortable? Experiment with temperature and light and see what the best                         combination for you is

  • Create a sleep diary to track what affects your sleeping pattern (a sleep diary template can be found here > Sleep Diary Template)
  • Identify any worries you are experiencing by talking to a trusted friend/family member
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Try and eat healthy foods
  • Engage in exercise/movement during the day

i.e. dance for 10 minutes or run up and down the stairs a few times

If these strategies don’t work for you, then it may be time to look at treatment and support options.


Talk to your Doctor to try and get to the root of your sleeping problem. Your Doctor may refer you for counselling, therapy, or to attend a sleep clinic. They might prescribe medication to help with your sleep problem.

Counselling and therapy

Willow Project offers counselling, where you can talk freely about any emotional or mental health issues. This will be confidential (with exceptions) and remain between you and your counsellor.

There are also other therapies that you can access, such as Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which looks at changing negative thought and behavioural patterns, and Hypnotherapy, which involves guidance in leading a person into a relaxed state, and resolving problems.

Sleep Clinic

Sleep clinics are specialist services, where sleep experts assess your sleeping patterns.


Medication may be prescribed to help you return to a normal sleeping pattern.

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