You Snooze, You Win: An EAP Perspective on the Importance of Sleep
Sleep is something that many, if not most, anticipate during the workweek. The incentive of getting to sleep in on the short weekend is enough to get many throughout the monotonous work hours. Based on the huge success of a handful of pop songs about staying in bed on Sunday morning, I have to assume that most of us can relate to this.
From the desk of Bobby Jepson, EAP Clinician:
Sleep may be an enjoyable experience, but it also plays a huge part in the health and longevity of our mental health. According to Harvard Medical School, there is a positive correlation between insomnia and strengthening a number of mental health conditions including depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
For those of us who struggle with sleep, The Mental Health Foundation suggests a simply and excellent acronym to assist with “healing” poor sleep. The letters of HEAL represent “Health”, “Environment”, “Attitude”, and “Lifestyle”. Health encourages people to stay on top of their physical and mental health by seeing respective professionals, as lack of sleep and poor health are linked. Environment involves making the most of your place-of-sleep, avoiding screen time and lights when trying to reach a state of deep sleep. Attitude encourages relaxation, letting go of the stressors of the past day. Finally, Lifestyle is similar to sleep in that it promotes healthy habits such as proper diet and regular exercise.
With all of these facts and suggestions in mind, you may find yourself wondering where you fit into this. Perhaps you yourself do not experience a mental health condition, nor do you even particularly struggle with sleep. Maybe sleep is just another mundane task that you have gotten into a routine. You know it is important, but do not know or care about the high value in your life.
Most of us struggle with stress, certainly in the workday. Despite the stereotypical encouragement proverb of “leave work at work,” this is easier said than done. Even when engaging in the activities that we enjoy in our spare time, that deadline or that that email continuing to be put off remains in the back of our minds. What can we do to escape this? The answer is sleep.
As per the wise advice of the HEAL acronym, setting your environment is one of the most important components of getting a good night’s rest, as well as achieving REM (rapid eye movement). Harvard Medical School also reports that this state of REM sleep assists in the enhancement of cognitive performance, memory, learning, and emotional health. Setting the mood by winding down and quieting your racing mind makes all the difference.
Letting your stressors go can seem impossible at times. You may be holding onto it like driftwood in the tumultuous storm of life, and releasing that hold may be terrifying due to the fear that you might drown. However, if you allow yourself to abandon that pressure and just let go, you may find that the water is more shallow than expected. Additionally, letting everything go to get a good night’s rest has been proven to help you tackle your mountainous challenges in the coming day. Sometimes, consenting to not overwhelm yourself by spreading your tasks out makes all the difference.
No matter where you are in life, everyone could use some extra help. Here at the EAP, we are here to assist you with getting to the place that you need to be. Some may need mental health counseling with a clinician, some may need to address their finances with a professional, others may have a pending legal issue that they have been scared to address with a lawyer. Perhaps these pending matters are the very things keeping you tossing and turning in bed. If so, the EAP is here to help you say “goodbye” to your troubles, not “good night.”
Call the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Access Line at 1-877-252-8550 for more information on the services allotted to help you. Do not sleep on this, call today!