Getting a Good Night’s Rest Can Actually Make You Less Depressed
When depression gets you down, a good night’s sleep can help rejuvenate you and give you the energy to fight off the fatigue and low feelings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic that causes problems ranging from a bigger risk of automobile accidents and on-the-job injuries to a greater predisposition for illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer. Even if you’re not depressed, the CDC says that chronic lack of sleep can actually cause the condition.
If you suffer from depression, getting enough sleep is critical. While you shouldn’t neglect other treatment options, like counseling and/or medication, getting enough rest is a simple self-help step that’s important for many reasons:
It helps energize you
According to the National Institute on Aging, fatigue is a common depression symptom. While the condition itself saps your energy, you compound it when you’re not getting enough sleep. When you get enough overnight rest, your body is physically ready to tackle the day. That makes it a little easier to get your mind on the same page.
Depression is often characterized by a loss of interest in things that you used to enjoy. That ties into the fatigue, because it’s hard to get excited about doing fun activities or socializing with friends when you can barely keep your eyes open. Being well rested helps you find the motivation to break out of your cocoon and do things.
It reduces irritability
Kids are infamous for getting cranky when they need a nap, and adults aren’t immune from that same problem. Depression can make you irritable, so you don’t need a lack of sleep adding fuel to the fire. It’s easier to deal with others in a pleasant manner and to handle life in a calmer fashion when you’re not running at a sleep deficit.
It reduces anxiety
Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand, but lack of sleep makes the anxiety worse. Researchers at UC Berkeley found that sleep deprivation kicks up activity in brain regions associated with worry, and the effect is even worse if you already tend to be a worrier. They also discovered that sleep therapy counteracts the problem and also helps with depression.
It helps you stay on a routine
Depression is a motivation sapper, but getting into a routine helps keep you from getting bogged down in the low mood quagmire. The CDC says that going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time in the morning helps promote restful sleep. That routine also helps you stave off depression because of its routine nature.
It promotes other good habits
While prescribed medication may help your depression, self-medicating with things like nicotine, caffeine, or alcohol typically make it worse. Those substances also inhibit sleep, so the CDC advises avoiding them in order to improve your sleep quality. That’s a healthy lifestyle change that increases rest as well as being a positive step in your overall fight against depression.
It’s not always easy to get a good night’s rest, and the CDC says that sleep disturbance is a common symptom of depression. If you use techniques to get a restful sleep each night, you’ll find that it’s easier to fight the rest of your symptoms, too.