One of the simplest and most natural things that you can do to feel better–physically and emotionally–is to get a good night’s sleep. In this YouTube video, I discuss the importance of sleep in maintaining mental health and well as share a variety of solutions for keeping healthy sleep habits.
Sleep isn’t just “time out” from daily life. Sleep is an active state that is necessary for regenerating our body and promoting mental and physical health. If you suffer from depression or anxiety, it is quite possible that your sleep is adversely impacted. Sleep irregularities can bring about depression and they are among the early warning signs that either mania or depression is occurring. Symptoms include: trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, early morning awakenings (followed by ruminations), and sleeping too much. Sleep medication and tranquilizers can be useful in trying to break a pattern of sleeplessness, but they are only designed for short-term use. In my ebook, Healing From Depression Naturally, I discuss multiple strategies for getting a good night’s sleep, such as those listed in the book No More Sleepless Nights by Peter Hauri. Some of the strategies are:
- Try to develop a sleep schedule–a regular time of going to sleep and arising–and stick to it.
- Reduce caffeine and alcohol; eliminating cigarettes.
- Use the bed only for sleep and sex, not for other activities such as reading.
- Practice bedtime relaxation techniques.
- Get regular exercise during the day.
In addition, you may wish to be evaluated at a sleep clinic to rule out the possibility of physical problems such as sleep apnea. (Sleep apnea is a temporary suspension of breathing that occurs repeatedly during sleep. It often affects overweight people or those who have an obstruction in their breathing tract.)
For those who have experienced crippling insomnia, establishing regular and restorative sleep patterns makes all the difference in the world. Practicing good sleep hygiene AND treating your depression and anxiety can help you to return to a good night’s sleep. In this regard, here is an affirmation/mantra that was given to me by a client who repeated it to himself as he drifted off to sleep in order to stop his obsessive thoughts. It was written by a 13th century English monk and reads as follows:
All shall be well,
and all shall be well,
and all manner of things shall be well.