Sleep. It’s one of the most important aspects of maintaining a healthy body, mind, and life. Healthy sleep patterns support your ability to focus and remember things, promote better energy levels and a positive outlook on life, and help your body fight off germs. But when battling depression, sleep can be one of the most challenging things to regulate.
Think about a time when you were sleep-deprived. You probably felt sluggish, irritable, and unable to focus on whatever needed to be done.
Now think about how you feel if you’re dealing with depression symptoms. You feel sluggish, irritable, and unable to focus.
That’s because sleep and depression are closely linked. Sometimes it can be challenging to determine if you are just tired or fighting symptoms of depression. And to complicate matters, sleep and depression affect one another. When you’re sleep-deprived, you’re more vulnerable to experiencing depression symptoms, and when you’re battling depression, you may have trouble establishing healthy sleep patterns.
Unfortunately, not having healthy sleep patterns makes depression more difficult to treat. That’s why prioritizing optimal sleep is crucial to your depression treatment.
Why Depression Affects Your Sleep
You’ve likely heard of your body’s circadian rhythm. It’s the pattern of hormones and psychological processes that influences your sleep and wake cycle. Research suggests that people with depression often experience circadian rhythm disruptions. In fact, one meta-analysis revealed that night-shift workers are more likely to develop depression than daytime workers by 40%.
Have you heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)? Well, that is a prime example of how when your circadian rhythm is thrown out of whack, you experience depression symptoms.
Season changes aren’t the only thing that could disrupt your circadian rhythm. Depression can do that too. You’ll likely have difficulty sleeping when you experience repetitive thoughts and ruminate on fears, regrets, anxieties, and sadness.
So that means you may have trouble staying asleep, often wake at night, or, conversely, sleep much more than you typically do, disrupting your circadian rhythm even more.
Practical Things You Can Do to Establish Healthy Sleep Patterns When You Have Depression
Yes, sleep and depression go hand in hand, and it can seem impossible to get things in check when you’re depressed. But there are things you can do to help promote healthy sleep patterns, even when you deal with depression.
The bottom line is you can’t improve your sleep pattern if you don’t prioritize it. You need to make it important. That means saying no to things that would keep you out past your bedtime and committing to some (if not all) of the items on this list.
Experts say adults need seven to nine hours of sleep to establish healthy sleep patterns. This can be challenging at first, but stick with it. If you have trouble falling asleep at first, try incorporating more tips on this list. If you sleep over nine hours, set the alarm to get yourself up and moving.
Establish a healthy daily routine
Developing healthy sleep patterns begins when you wake up. Optimally, you want to get up and get some sunshine. Depending on the time of year and where you live, it could be challenging to get outside. But even getting sunlight into your eyes through a window help to wake you up and provides much-needed serotonin to boost energy and your mood.
The rest of your day should also follow some routine. Try to eat your meals at the same time every day, include some exercise, and not include too much caffeine or alcohol.
Make your bedroom a sanctuary
Your brain needs to link your bedroom with rest and sleep. So try to ensure it’s only used for sleep and sex, nothing else. Remove your TV, try to set up your home office elsewhere (or at least separate it somehow), get room-darkening curtains, eliminate sounds, and make it as cozy and comfy as possible.
Develop a consistent bedtime routine
Winding down from your day is essential to ensure you sleep well. You spend your day surrounded by people, events, sights, and sounds, so you must train your body to flip the switch from responding to stimulation to getting ready to sleep. Develop a calm and relaxing routine that includes reading, taking a bath or shower, drinking a cup of herbal tea, or other relaxing activities. (But make sure your routine doesn’t include screen time – see tip #7.)
Get some exercise
The benefits of exercise are numerous and include helping you to sleep better. Exercise can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and help you sleep more soundly. But try not to engage in vigorous exercise too close to bedtime as it may actually impede your ability to fall asleep quickly.
Try to manage stress levels
Yes, this is easier said than done. However, engaging in stress management practices like meditation and deep breathing, especially before sleep, can help you manage stress and promote healthier sleep habits. Consider making a stress-reducing activity part of your bedtime routine.
Eliminate screens before bedtime
You’ve probably heard it before – screens before bedtime are a no-no. That’s because the blue light they emit can trick your brain into thinking it’s still daytime, so falling asleep is trickier. As part of your nightly routine, try to stay off screens for 30 minutes-one hour before bed.
Seek depression treatment from a professional
If you’re dealing with sleep issues, especially when related to depression, it’s a good idea to seek depression treatment in San Diego or wherever you’re located. There are many therapeutic modalities and techniques to help you reduce stress, combat depression symptoms, improve relaxation, and help you sleep better.
At BOLD Health, We’re Ready to Help You Sleep Better Through Depression Therapy in San Diego
As you can see, sleep and depression significantly affect each other. Getting depression treatment in San Diego can help you not only overcome depression but it can also help you learn what you need to do to develop healthy sleep patterns.
At BOLD Health, we take pride in treating each one of our clients individually and tailor their depression therapy in San Diego specifically to meet your needs. When you arm yourself with the tools and strategies to break through the challenges of depression, you’ll feel better and sleep better.
Contact us to learn more about our options for depression treatment in San Diego, including individual therapy, group therapy, ketamine treatment, medication management, and our intensive outpatient program. We’d love to work with you. We’d also love to help you get a consistent great night’s sleep.