Tips for Better Sleep With Depression
In the previous article we talked about depression and its tight relationship with sleep disorders and gave some solutions that might help relieve the symptoms of both.
In addition to the therapies suggested in the previous article, the following advice can help you get better sleep while you’re getting treated for depression and related sleep problems.
Turn Your Bedroom into a Sleep Haven
Use your bedroom exclusively for sleep and sex. Everything else, from watching television to working and socializing, should take place elsewhere. You want your mind to see your bedroom as a place of rest, not of worry, stress, or social activity.
Keep your bedroom as cool and as dark as possible by removing electronics and using blackout curtains if necessary. Invest in a comfortable mattress like are those we have reviewed that will make your deep sleep come easier.
Keep a Sleep Diary
If you believe you are suffering from depression and/or a comorbid sleep disorder, keep a sleep/mood diary for 2 weeks to share with your doctor.
Note when you go to bed, how long it takes you to fall asleep, when you wake up, and how much time you spent asleep. Also note your level of fatigue or energy throughout the day, as well as any changes in mood, diet, libido, or thought patterns.
Create a Calming Bedtime Routine
Depression and anxiety-producing thoughts are a recipe for insomnia. Help ease your mind of worries with a calming bedtime routine. Try relaxation techniques, deep breathing exercises, or meditation. Take a warm bath or light some candles.
If your mind continues to race at night, take time to write your thoughts down in a worry journal – getting them out of your head and onto the page will diminish their power. Relieve anxieties by listing out any remaining to-do items you can take care of tomorrow.
Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even weekends. Ensure you leave enough room for you to conceivably get at least 7 hours of sleep, but don’t worry about whether you spend all of that time asleep. Your only goal is to stick to the schedule, and eventually your brain will catch up and train itself to sleep and wake at those times more naturally.
Avoid napping if you can. If you’re absolutely exhausted, limit them to short power naps of 30 minutes or less.
Eat Well and Avoid Stimulating Substances
Foods that are high in sugar or fats mess with your sleep, your health, and your mood. Instead, fill your diet with foods that promote healthy energy levels and sleep.
Also take care to avoid any stimulating substances in the afternoon or evening that interfere with sleep, such as caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine.
Get Plenty of Sunshine
Natural sunlight facilitates a healthy sleep-wake cycle. Aim to get plenty of sunshine, ideally by exercising outdoors in the morning or early part of the day. This will give you an energy boost and make you feel better and less fatigued during the day time. Then, as it gets dark, your brain will recognize it’s time to wind down and fall asleep.
While you’re at work or school, sit by the windows to increase your amount of sunlight.
Stay Calm When You Wake Up
Unfortunately, retraining your body to sleep well is not an overnight process. Expect – and accept – that you’ll continue having disturbed sleep during this process.
When you do wake up, practice your deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation exercises. Meditate or visualize something that makes you feel happy or calm. Turn on a soft lamp and read a book. Stay calm and sleep will come.