Sleep and mood are intimately related. Tips for beating insomnia and getting a good night's sleep in order to improve your depression.
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- Determine the number of hours you need to feel rested. Don't worry if you don't fit into the 'norm' of eight hours. A good guideline to start with is how many hours you sleep when you 'sleep in' on the weekends.
- Calculate a bedtime that will allow you to sleep this many hours and wake up at a reasonable hour.
- The first day, wake yourself at the time you would like to be your usual waking time, whether you are rested or not. You may need help from a friend, relative or alarm clock the first few days.
- Throughout the day, resist the urge for a nap.
- Limit your intake of caffeine and other stimulants and do not consume any of these after mid-afternoon. You will eventually find that you are getting enough rest and don't need an extra boost in the morning.
- A couple of hours before bedtime, begin to allow yourself to wind down. A regular evening ritual can help you relax and will signal your body that it's time to rest.
- If you feel tense, try the following: Kava Kava, Valerian, chamomile tea, soft music, scented candles, a hot bath or a massage.
- Avoid over the counter and prescription sleep meds and alcohol. Although you may fall asleep, your sleep will not be gentle and natural. You will feel groggy in the morning.
- If you are troubled by racing thoughts that just won't stop, get up and do something to keep yourself occupied until the thoughts subside.
- If you just can't sleep, don't lie in the bed and toss and turn. Get up and do something until you are tired enough to sleep.
- Get up at your predetermined time, no matter how tired you may feel.
- Repeat the above steps until you are able to fall asleep on time and wake up rested. This will generally take 2-3 days.
- Don't despair if you have to go sleepy for a couple of days to get back on track. For most people, these steps will work if followed faithfully. If not, consult an expert for further assistance.
- Keep a regular schedule, even on weekends. If you do, every day will feel as glorious as 'sleeping in' on the weekends.
- Melatonin is a supplement which may be helpful in resetting your body clock and allowing you to fall asleep naturally.