Does this sound familiar?
“I know I’m depressed, but I would still like to be able to get a good night’s sleep.”
“Even though I’m no longer depressed, I’m still having trouble sleeping.”
Sleep is a complex matter. While it can be an indicator of difficulties, including depression, many other factors can affect our sleep. If you find yourself unable to sleep, or waking up tired, frequently yawning during the day, or with an overwhelming desire to nap, ask yourself the following questions:
- When did this start? Fatigue and sleep difficulties are often seen with depression, but if the sleep disturbance came before the depressive disorder, it will likely remain after the depression has resolved.
- Know yourself. Is fatigue or sleep difficulties typically part of my pattern of depression? Or is it something that occurs with hormonal changes, seasonal patterns, medication or drug/alcohol use? Could I be “coming down” with something?
- Do I feel better after I have had a good night’s sleep?
- Are my sleep difficulties chronic throughout my life or is this something that I expect to end and go back to better sleep?
What are some things you can do to get better sleep?
- Put away the electronics. Banish your phone/computer/television from your bedroom after 9PM (or within 2 hours of your bedtime, whichever comes first. If you are going to sleep at 10:00, put them away at 8:00).
- Exercise. Most people find they sleep better if they have moved more during the day. Strenuous exercise should be done earlier to allow your body time to slow your heart rate back down before you try to go to sleep. But stretching, yoga, tai chi and other “gentler” activities can help relax the muscles and assist in falling and staying asleep.
- Good sleep hygiene. This term is used to describe lifestyle habits that help us sleep. These include a regular routine where you get into bed around the same time each day, and wake up at the same time each morning (as opposed to staying up late and sleeping in on weekends). Some activities (meditation, prayer, relaxation, stretching) to encourage the body and mind to slow down before bed can help.
- Diet. I have seen nutritional recommendations for better sleep including eating some protein before bed, and recently, food that has healthy fat, like full fat dairy (cheese or whole milk) or nut butter. You don’t want to eat too much and try to sleep on a full stomach, but try a small snack towards the end of the evening. Even a single slice of cheese (1 0z) can help calm the brain. If you have a sensitive digestive system, try eating a light snack approximately 45 minutes before you lay down.
Solving your sleep difficulties can be a matter of eliminating your pain or depression, or just making some lifestyle changes. If you’re having difficulty finding relief, call the professionals at Ketamine Wellness Centers at 855-KET-WELL and start your journey to a good night’s rest!
Dr. Ellen Diamond is the Clinical Psychologist for Ketamine Wellness Centers.