Sleeptember is nearly over but it's never too late to change your sleep habits

September 2022

Our training manager, Charlotte Dawber, looks at the importance of getting a good night's rest and its impact on mental health and well-being

Sleep is something many of us don’t pay enough attention to. It is as essential for our health as food, water and movement.

We spend about a third of our lives asleep and this is when our brains and bodies repair themselves. Poor or missing sleep can cause irritability, heightened stress and anxiety as well as depression. It increases the risk poor health including heart disease and stroke, as well as lowering the immune system. Those of us who sleep less than six hours per night on average take more days off work per year compared to someone who sleeps seven to nine hours. It is estimated that sleep deprivation costs the UK economy £40.2 billion per year.

So how do we get better sleep? Make sure you incorporate enough movement into your day (but not late at night), limit alcohol and caffeine (stop entirely at noon if you can), use your bed only for sleeping and... (well, use your imagination) so no TV, phones or IT, keep to a regular time for both going to bed and getting up (even at weekends), and keep the room cool and dark.

What can we do to improve our sleep when we're at work all day? You might buy low-caffeine supplies for the kitchen, and how about walk and talk meetings, getting out for a swim, run or walk at lunchtime, stretching exercises at your desk or while waiting for the photocopier.

Seeing daylight at lunchtime or walking to work will also help keep your circadian rhythms synchronised as the summer ends.

If you think more movement could improve your sleep, and would like to support mental health at the same time, then why not consider joining our Mental Elf event this November to raise money to support our services? West Sussex Mind: Mental Elf 2022 (

If you need help sleeping, visit this advice from the NHS: Sleep problems - Every Mind Matters - NHS (