Getting a good night’s rest is imperative to maintaining your health and well-being. Everyone has times where we don’t sleep well for one reason or another. But if you start to have frequent difficulties sleeping, this may be a sign that there are other underlying issues affecting your rest.
Depression and anxiety can go hand-in-hand with problems sleeping. According to the National Sleep Foundation, research suggests that people with insomnia have a 10-fold risk of developing depression compared to those who sleep well. Ensuring you get restful sleep may be critical in either warding off depression or improving your mood when you’re feeling depressed.
The relationship between depression and insomnia is complex. It can be hard to tell if insomnia is causing depression or if depression is causing insomnia. When we’re more worried or down, sometimes we feel stressed and think more at night which keeps us from sleeping. On the other hand, when we are not getting enough sleep, it can certainly affect our mood and energy level during the next day. Either way, if you are having trouble sleeping, trouble with depression and anxiety, or all of the above, it’s important to get your sleep back on track.
Here are some helpful hints on how to get a good night’s rest:
- Create a comfortable environment in your room. Make sure your room is dark, quite, and a comfortable or cool temperature.
- Use your bed only for sleeping. Avoid using it to work, eat, talk on the phone, etc.
- Avoid working on the computer, playing video games, or watching television right before going to bed.
- Don’t eat a big meal before sleep or don’t go to bed hungry. Eating a light snack before bed may be helpful.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and large amounts of sugar before going to bed.
- Avoid napping during the day. You want to be tired when you go to bed at night.
- Get regular exercise during the week. However, avoid exercise in the evenings or right before you go to sleep.
- Take a warm bath or shower in the evening.
- Dim the lights when preparing to go to bed. This lets our brains know that it’s time to get ready for sleep.
- Practice relaxation techniques that work for you before going to bed. Examples could include reading, deep breathing exercises, or listening to soft and relaxing music.
- Go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day to set your body’s sleeping pattern.
If these tips aren’t helpful or you would like other strategies to help you sleep, you may consider seeing a therapist. Therapy can also help you manage stress that may be affecting your sleep. Working through feelings of depression or anxiety in therapy may in turn help you get a better night’s rest.
However, if you are concerned you have a medical condition that is affecting your sleep, please consult with your doctor. Some medical conditions such as restless leg syndrome (RLS) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can affect the quality of your sleep. You can find more information about sleep disorders and other sleep related issues at the National Sleep Foundation’s website: www.sleepfoundation.org.