Sleep plays an important role in depression treatment. The better your sleep patterns are, the better your mental health will be. Of course, most people who have depression struggle with sleep as a result of it. This creates a vicious cycle – sleep gets worse, depression gets worse. We want to help you stop the cycle now and get your mind and body back on the right track.
Let’s take a closer look at how sleep affects depression treatment and what you can do to get better sleep in the future.
What Your Mind Does When You Sleep
When your body is at rest, your mind is hard at work. All the brainpower used to keep your legs moving and your eyes blinking throughout the day is now available for your mind to use. This is when your brain sorts through experiences, memories and feelings from the day. Think of your mind as an overnight secretary, diligently putting all of your thoughts into their appropriate files.
Negative Side Effects of Insufficient Sleep
As you may have guessed, not getting enough sleep means that your brain can’t do everything it needs to get done. You wake up with some of the lingering thoughts from the previous day weighing heavily on your mind. This may also cause you to wake up feeling stressed, before the day has even begun. You didn’t get the full fresh start that you needed.
Sleep is also important for energy. If you do not get sufficient sleep, you will wake up feeling groggy and irritable. These feeling stay with you during the day, which could turn a pleasant experience into a depressing one. You feel “off,” and you can’t figure out why. Your sleep may be a major culprit.
How to Get Better Sleep for Depression Treatment
Limited sleep makes depression symptoms worse, so what can you do to improve your sleep? Here are some tips for getting better sleep, whether you’re going through depression treatment or you just want more rest.
- Put yourself on a schedule. Try going to bed around the same time every night, even on your days off. The human body thrives on routine. Once your body gets used to a pattern, it’s more likely to stick to it. It may take a week or two to adjust to the schedule, but you will start to see a difference in time.
- Avoid mental stimulation before bed. This includes checking your cell phone. The light in smartphone screens keeps your brain active well after you’ve looked at the phone. Do whatever you need to do on your phone at least 30 minutes before you plan to fall asleep, and avoid watching thought-provoking TV shows before bed.
- Do something relaxing. This could be taking a bath, drinking a glass of wine, reading a chapter in your favorite book. Find something that you love to do to ease yourself into sleep.
- Don’t focus on the clock. This could create anxiety, thinking about not getting enough sleep. You don’t want to make going to sleep into a chore. Instead, just lay in bed and rest as much as possible. Stressing about sleep will not make the sleep come any faster, and the rest you get is better than nothing.
- Use a fan/blanket combination. Most people find comfort in having a cold room and thick blankets on top of them. The weight of the blankets creates a relaxing environment, similar to a child in a swaddle. The cold room will ensure that you do not get overheated under the blankets. Try adjusting your home’s temperature at night. You might be surprised by how much a new environment improves your sleep.
Talk to your therapist about personalized solutions to improve your sleep routine. If you would like to schedule an appointment for in-home depression treatment, contact us at (847) 903-5604.