Sleep is such an important part of having good mental health, especially if you are dealing with a mental illness. It helps your body and brain function at a more productive level.
When dealing with depression you will find that you either can’t get to sleep, don’t get enough sleep or sleep too much. Of course there are medications out there that you can get a prescription for. However, they usually come with side effects and who wants to add another medication to what they are already taking.
Listed below are some tips to help with sleep:
Lowering the Room Temperature
When you sleep your core temperature decreases. However, your feet and hand temperatures will increase. I think a lot of people would agree with me in the fact that if the room is too hot it becomes very difficult not only to fall asleep but to stay asleep.
Not everyone has air conditioning so this could be a challenge for some people.
If you do have an air-conditioned home then you would want to try setting the temperature, at least for nighttime, to somewhere between 60 and 75 Fahrenheit or 15 and 23 Celsius.
You may have to play around a bit with the temperature until you find the right one for you. You may want to start in the middle of those temperatures and then either increase or decrease as needed.
For people who do not have an air conditioning unit, get a good tall fan so that it can be positioned high enough that you will feel it. I would recommend taking off the oscillation and have it positioned directly on you throughout the whole night.
Using a Deep Breathing Technique
There is a breathing technique often referred to as “4-7-8”. This breathing technique helps to relax your nervous system. This is also a great breathing technique to help when you are feeling stressed or anxious about something.
Here’s how it works:
- Exhale fully through your mouth as if you were releasing a deep sigh of relief.
- Next inhale through your nose, with your mouth shut, at a slow rate while you mentally count to four.
- After inhaling to the count of 4 hold your breath and count to 7
- After reaching the count of 7 open your mouth and breathe out slowly making a sighing noise and count to 8
- Repeat this cycle at least three to four times or as much as is needed until you start to feel yourself calm down.
Have a Regular Bedtime Schedule
Instead of going to sleep at all different times of the night, pick a good time for you and make it a regular habit that you go to bed at that time.
Your body has an internal clock that works for both waking up and going to sleep. By keeping a regular routine scheduled bedtime, this will help your mind in shutting down and allowing you to fall asleep.
It may take some time for your body to get used to this schedule but stick to it and eventually you’re body will adjust to the new sleep time schedule.
It is also important to give yourself about an hour to calm down at night before you get into bed. Try to avoid things like watching TV, working on projects, being on your phone or computer in the hour before you go to bed.
Start to Practice Mindfulness, Yoga and/or Meditation
Stress and anxiety will often lead people into a difficult time falling asleep. Using mindfulness, yoga and meditation can help calm the stress and anxiety allowing your mind to calm down and fall asleep.
Yoga utilizes breathing patterns as well as body movements that will help to release any stress and tension that you have built up throughout the day.
Meditation is a great way to enhance your melatonin levels which will help the brain reach a certain state that sleep becomes easier to achieve.
Mindfulness will help you in staying in the present moment instead of thinking about the past or the future. It will calm your mind down and help you to wind down from your day.
Try to Avoid Naps During the Day
When you have a night that you either couldn’t get any sleep at all or very little sleep, a nap can feel like the greatest thing in the world.
However, this re-energizes the body and may cause you to stay up later and cause problems sticking to your sleep schedule that was discussed above.
When you are feeling so tired during the day it can be very difficult to avoid a nap. If you are able to stay awake and avoid taking the nap, the natural tiredness from the lack of sleep the night before should kick in and help you fall asleep.
Put on Some Relaxing Music When You Go to Bed
With today’s technology through Spotify and YouTube, there are a lot of relaxation music options available to you.
When you are ready to go to bed play a playlist on Spotify or YouTube that is specifically meant for relaxation and sleep.
Music has an effect on our moods, it can make us happy, sad, motivated, calm us down, etc. By putting on relaxing music this will help calm the brain down and make it easier to put into practice the benefits of meditation and mindfulness discussed earlier.
Using Self-Hypnosis Sleep Audios
I wanted to add in the self-hypnosis for a couple reasons.
- I haven’t seen it mentioned very often.
- Going to a hypnotist can be very expensive and often requires several sessions.
When doing self-hypnosis, you are put into a deep relaxation trance-like state. The reason for being in this deep relaxation state is so that the hypnotist talking in the audio can speak to your subconscious mind. This is where suggestions of falling asleep can be implanted.
The results of using the audios vary from person to person. Some people are more susceptible and fall into the trance easier while others it may take some time. Sometimes a person may find that they fall asleep after listening to the audio once other people it may take days of listening to it before falling asleep.
I was on a medication for sleeping and desperately wanted to get off the medication. It would make me extremely hungry and before I could fall asleep I would have to eat a full meal.
After the first week of listening to the self-hypnosis sleep audio, I finally fell asleep for about twenty minutes. That gradually increased and by the end of the first month of listening to the audio daily I was actually able to fall asleep for the night without taking my sleeping medication.
Since then I have not had to use the sleeping medication and still listen to the audio from time to time but no longer need it daily.
I downloaded the sleep self-hypnosis audio from a site called Hyptalk.com. The hypnotherapist is Victoria Gallagher. The name of the sleep audio I used is called Deep Sleep Hypnosis.