One in three people in the UK suffer from poor sleep with stress, computers and taking work home often blamed1.

The amount of sleep we need can vary from person to person. On average, most adults need around seven to eight hours sleep each night to feel alert and well rested.

By not getting enough hours sleep, it can put you at risk of serious medical conditions including, obesity, heart disease and diabetes, which as a result can shorten your life expectancy.

So how can poor sleep have an impact on your mental health? Anastasia Umerah, occupational health adviser at BHSF, is here to explain.

“When you don’t get at least eight hours of quality sleep, it can heavily influence your outlook on life, energy levels, motivation, and emotions.

“If you’re feeling low, you may not realise that lack of sleep is the culprit. Even small levels of sleep deprivation over time can chip away at your happiness. You might see that you’re less enthusiastic, more irritable or even have some symptoms of clinical depression, such as feeling persistently sad or empty.

“People with insomnia are ten times more likely to have depression and 17 times more likely to have anxiety. The more a person experiences insomnia and frequently wakes up at night, the higher the chances are of developing depression2.

“Altered sleep patterns are a hallmark of many mental health issues. If you find you are sleeping too little or too much on a regular basis, it’s important to bring this up with your doctor. The two of you can then look at your physical and mental health and decide if tests or a treatment plan are necessary.”

Around 200,000 working days a year are lost in the UK because of insufficient sleep. Employees who sleep less than six hours a night lose around six more working days each year than those who sleep seven to nine hours a night3.

A ‘Sleep Manifesto’ launched by The Sleep Council and The Sleep Charity have called on the government to push sleep up the public health agenda. Sleep deprivation is expected to cost the UK economy £47 billion by 2030.

Umerah provides tips on what you can do to get a good night’s sleep.

“Going to bed and getting up at the same time, programmes your body to sleep better. It will help your mind and body to function well.

“Try to turn off screens an hour before bedtime. Social media, news, work emails can all stimulate the brain and cause anxious thoughts/feelings.

“When it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is dark. Use heavy curtains or shades to block light from windows, or try a sleep mask. Also consider covering up electronics that emit light. If you need some light to move around safely, try installing a dim nightlight in the hall or bathroom. This will make it easier for you to fall back to sleep.”

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