Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Exercise and sleep


The ability to sleep and feel rested is what I call a super-factor because it has a very significant impact on our mental health. Sleep is a factor that both underpins and exacerbates mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Therefore, one of the best things you can do for your mental health is to take steps to improve your sleep. Exercise is also highly beneficial for your mental health and the combination of the two can have a powerful effect. Best of all, it's something clients can do in their own time and supports the work of therapy.

A study published in December of 2016 with a large sample size (N=2,600) found "that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week, which is the national guideline, provided a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality. People also said they felt less sleepy during the day, compared to those with less physical activity." 

While 150 minutes of exercise may be more than some are willing to do, any increase in exercise may assist with both mood and sleep and in turn mental health.

As a clinician, I conduct sleep assessments to understand if sleep is a factor that perpetuates mental health concerns.  Sleep disturbance is also a very common symptom for those with anxiety and depressive symptoms. While increasing exercise does not represent a total solution to sleep problems, it may be an important piece of the puzzle in improving sleep. Where clients report sleep difficulties, I assess and treat these alongside other mental health concerns in line with their tailored treatment plan. 


Article written by Tena Davies, Psychologist. The aim of this article is to give you ideas on well being. Please note this article is not intended to replace therapy.


Tena Davies is Psychologist based in inner city Melbourne. Tena has expertise in psychological counselling with adolescents and adults. She also works as a cyber expert providing cyber safety education to schools and professionals. As a Psychologist, Tena believes in helping clients to gain insight into their difficulties and teaching them new skills to grow and thrive. Please see www.tenadavies.com for more information.