When we do not have these three pillars of health in place we are fighting biology to improve our mental health.
Melatonin is triggered when we engage in our sleep routines. There are things we can do that will block the production of melatonin.
Sleep chain- What you associate with falling asleep can drastically impact your sleep.
Rules to follow:
- Only sleep in your bed. Do not play or be active because that will prevent you from creating an association with sleep and your bed.
- Do not do anything to fall asleep that cannot be independently replicated in the middle of the night or you might have trouble falling back asleep.
Dim the lights in the house when it’s getting close to bedtime.
Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time 7 days per week.
- Example cuddling with someone to fall asleep.
If you follow these rules and engage in a daily bedtime routine your body will naturally produce melatonin when you start engaging in this routine. If you do not have a routine your body will not know when to start producing melatonin.
Research shows that sleep issues can cause mental problems even leading to mental health diagnoses.
Note taking melatonin can help in the short term but it does mess your body’s natural ability to produce the chemical. Your body will start producing less melatonin because it will think it doesn’t need to produce it. This will lead to you needing to take more melatonin over time to get the same effects. Taking melatonin should be a short term solution while getting a sleep routine established or avoided all together.
Lack of sleep amplifies symptoms of mental health diagnoses.
So if you struggle with depression and then get a lack of sleep your symptoms would be worse that following day.
If lack of sleep becomes a chronic pattern the symptoms would also become more dominant and more ingrained in your behavioral repertoire and likely to continue longer even after proper sleep is achieved.
Sugar and Refined Starches (white bread, pasta etc..)
- 23% more likely to develop anxiety and depression if eating a diet high in sugar (study used 70,000 people)
- In another study participants with depression switched to a sugar free, no refined starches
- 32% of the participants became symptom free and were no longer diagnosable.
- All participants reduce depression symptoms and anxiety symptoms, and increased energy levels.
Neurochemicals are used to process emotions and for your brain to function and communicate.
Magnesium and omega-3 is needed to relay those signals from your brain to your body. About half of Americans do not have enough magnesium and omega-3 for their brain to function well. Lack of nutrition can lead to oxidative damage (this damages brain cells).
Research is showing there is a link between oxidative damage and depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, dementia, and bi-polar.
Gut health impacts the brain and it’s ability to communicate with the body as well.
Lack of nutrition also causes gut issues. Bacteria in our gut produces neurotransmitters such as serotonin that will help mental health issues. Lack of nutrition will prevent those mental health neurotransmitters from being produced.
Studies have been done where they take microbes from depressed humans' guts and transplant them into rodents. The rodents then display symptoms of depression and chemical imbalances.
In order to get mental health benefits from exercise you should do it 3-5 days a week.
Studies have shown that exercise can serve as treatment for even chronic mental health disorders such as depression, ADHD, PTSD, dementia, anxiety and schizophrenia.
Studies show in some cases exercise has the same or better effect than medication.
Exercise helps your neurotransmitters communicate, signal, grow and connect. Exercises also helps with the delivery of oxygen and nutrients.
Exercise produces neurochemicals that fight mental health issues.
Exercise specifically benefits the hippocampus. This means regular exercise will result in improved memory, emotional regulation and an increased ability to learn new information.
Risks of not exercising
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol, high blood pressure
- Increased risk for mental health problems and increased likelihood of being diagnosed
- Decreased emotional regulation
- Decrease memory
- Increased ADHD symptoms
- Decrease executive functioning
- Metabolic syndrome
- Type 2 diabetes
- Certain cancers such as colon, breast and uterine
- Increase risk of developing osteoporosis