Sleep plays an important role in depression treatment. Sleep comes naturally as you work through depression symptoms, but getting more rest at night can drastically speed up your recovery. In this guide, we will explore the components of health sleep routines, along with tips to help you sleep better at night.
How Sleep Helps Your Mental Health
Before we explain how to establish a healthy sleep routine, you need to understand just how important sleep is for your mental health. During the day, your brain is hard at work making sure you walk, blink, chew, speak, listen and observe the world around you. This leaves little time to process thoughts and emotions. At night, your body is at rest, leaving your mind to sort through all the memories of the day.
If you do not get enough sleep, your brain will still be bogged down with memories in the morning. This limits your ability to tackle the next day’s tasks. Think about how productive you feel when you come to work with nothing on your desk. Now think of the instant stress you feel with a pile of papers on your desk. Let your body rest long enough, and your brain will clear your mental desk for the next day.
Elements of a Good Sleep Routine
Here are some components you should try to incorporate in your sleep routine:
- Make it a true “routine.” Your body thrives on predictable habits. That’s why muscle memory is so powerful. By going to bed and waking up around the same times each night/day, you’ll find it even easier to go to sleep in the future.
- Wind down before you go to bed. If you go to bed while your mind is still racing, you’ll sit and ponder in frustration. You may even feel anxious because you can’t go to bed right away. Spend some time relaxing before you go to bed – take a bath, read a book, or watch a relaxing show on television. Then you’ll feel more at ease when you fall asleep.
- Avoid your phone for at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. The blue light on your phone screen triggers brain activity. If you check your phone right before bed, you’re going to delay your sleep progress. Put the phone away for 30 minutes or longer for the best chance at quick, easy slumber.
- Create a sleep-friendly environment. Turn the lights off, keep the TV volume on low, and use room-darkening curtains to block outdoor lights. You could also use soothing music to help your mind relax at night.
- Don’t drink before bed. This will cause you to use the restroom shortly after you fall asleep, which interrupts the solid sleep you get.
- Limit caffeine during the day. You may feel reliant on caffeine right now because you don’t get much sleep at night. Drinking soda, coffee, and energy drinks inhibits your body’s natural energy cycle. This makes it harder to fall asleep, making you more dependent on caffeine the next day. Break the cycle and you’ll see a big change in your sleep quality.
These are just some of the techniques you can use to develop a healthy sleep routine for depression treatment. Talk to your therapist about lifestyle changes you can make to further improve your sleep. If you do not have a therapist but are interested in depression treatment, contact Sherman Counseling at 920-733-2065 to schedule an appointment in Appleton, Green Bay or Oshkosh, WI.