Depression and sleep are tightly linked. In fact, a primary symptom of depression is insomnia, the inability to fall and/or stay asleep throughout the night.
Now to clarify, insomnia doesn’t necessarily lead to depression, but it can sure worsen symptoms.
Plus, research shows that depression is increased ten times in those with insomnia and other sleep disorders like sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.
Sleep is critical for rebuilding from stresses of the day. This includes the stress that depression inflicts on the mind and body.
The sadness and worry that accompanies depression may often keep you awake at night. This means you’re not as mentally resilient as you could be the next day, which feeds depression, and the horrible cycle continues.
Help for Depression and Sleep Disorders
There’s no need to fear…
If you suffer from depression, a good night’s sleep is still possible.
Try a few, or all, of these suggestions tonight!
Don’t rob yourself of precious melatonin. Our brains make this chemical to help us sleep. Electronics like cell phones, laptops, and tablets emit a bright light that makes it difficult for your brain to wind down. As a result, your brain makes less of this precious sleep tonic. Try not to take your electronics to bed. Read a book or start journaling instead.
Do a little meditation, which relaxes the mind by calming racing and negative thoughts. Read more about meditation here.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), is a form of therapy where a person taps on certain points on the body to remove negative emotions such as sadness, worry, anger, etc. When the mind is clear of negative thoughts getting a good night’s sleep becomes a lot easier.
Avoid using caffeine in the evenings. That includes drinking tea. Look for a calming chamomile tea instead.
Sleep aids and sleep medication don’t always work for everyone.
Medications can have side effects.
Before using an over the counter sleep aid, try an herbal remedy or sleeplessness such as melatonin, a compound that your brain makes each night to help you fall asleep.
Start with a low dose, 1mg or 3mg, to see how it works for you. Follow package instructions carefully.
Additional supplemental support for a good night’s sleep includes activated charcoal, valerian root, and L-Theanine.
You can find these natural sleep aids in health stores, drug stores or you can order them online.
Getting Too Much Of A Good Thing?
You’re probably thinking: “The more sleep, the better,” right? Well, not really.
On the other side of the sleep coin, are 10-20 percent of individuals, diagnosed with major depression, who actually get too much sleep.
For these people, oversleeping carries surprisingly negative health effects like diabetes, obesity, headaches and daytime sleepiness.
This study links sleeping more than 10 hours a night to weight gain. This is despite eating a proper diet and exercising.
Help for Oversleeping
Try these tips for balancing your sleep routine and gaining more energy throughout the day.
- Set an alarm clock to wake you up after 8 hours of sleep.
- Go to bed at the same time every night.
- Expose yourself to bright sunlight upon waking.
- Eat breakfast no more than 30 minutes after getting up. (Make sure it’s high in lean protein for energy.
- Avoid napping throughout the day.
- Don’t oversleep on the weekends. This will further disrupt your circadian rhythm.