How a good night’s sleep can help with depression

sleep wellInsomnia and depression are often experienced at the same time. A troubled mind can lead to restlessness and difficulty sleeping. It can turn into a vicious cycle where the lack of sleep begins to deepen the depression and your ability to think properly is muddled. Rest is also important for the body to heal, and since a chemical imbalance can be the cause or contribute to depression, a lack of good sleep can make this difficult to fix.

Check your mattress

One of the first things you should look at is your bedding. If the mattress is worn thin or uncomfortable it can make resting difficult. Your problems with sleeping could be solved by simply getting a better mattress. You want one that is supportive and comfortable. It is generally a good idea to change your mattress every decade or so. If it is too firm it can create painful pressure points and if its too soft you body will sag into bad posture that can cause joint problems. It may be a good idea to invest in a good memory foam mattress, you can read some reviews at ChooseMattress.com.

Make sure you have a good environment for sleeping

Temperature, ambient lighting, and noise are three critical factors concerning how easy it is to rest in a room. You do not want it too hot, or too cold. There should be just enough chill that a light blanket is comfortable to use. There should be as little light as possible, at most you may want the dim light of a clock or night light to help navigate by. When it comes to noise, there should be as little as possible. Acceptable types of noise that are considered helpful to falling asleep are called white noises. You can purchase a machine to help produce them to cover up distracting sounds at night, or you can even find white noise music to play while you try to sleep.

Set a good routine and follow it

The bedroom should be a distraction free zone. Leave your laptops, tablets, and mobiles out of the bedroom or put them away at least an hour before you go to bed. The light from their screens can actually keep you from falling asleep. Give yourself that hour to unwind and try to let go some of the tension and worry from the day. When you are depressed it can be tempting to dwell even more on the things that have you feeling sad during this time. Do not let yourself think about them. Tell yourself that thinking about them now will only make it harder to sleep and no sleep will make it harder to think clearly in general. Use the time to practice clearing your mind, use meditation techniques or even sip some calming, non caffeinated tea, such as chamomile. Stick to keeping the hour cushion between when you want to fall asleep and when you separate yourself form the day. Aside from being part of a healthy sleeping habit, small routines can help you focus through depression by retaining some order that is often destroyed by it.

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Keeping your chin up when you are depressed

keep chin upSometimes keeping a smile on your face can seem impossible when you are depressed. Life and the things that once interested you seem dull. One trick that you can do the help cheer yourself up is to re-discover that inner child. Sometimes the burdens of being an adult can make depression weigh even heavier on your shoulders. Laughter and having fun are actually some great ways to fight being depressed. What better way to help find the joy in life once more than by letting yourself be a kid again?

You can’t drop all your responsibilities, but you can take breaks

Studies have shown that taking routine breaks during work help improve mood and concentration. Being an adult is a lot of work. You either have a house to keep up with, a job to do, bills to pay, kids to tend to, or a significant other to tend with, sometimes all at once. You need to be able to take breaks during the day, and not just use them to worry about things. Do something fun, like read a book that you enjoyed when you were young, blow bubbles, or some other simple activity that is purely for fun. Even colouring a a picture can be an amusing way to spend a break. Part of why these simple things are so therapeutic is because they are things of pure joy. Children don’t think about responsibilities or have major worries. You can’t just hop back to that point in life, but reliving a little bit of it can help your mind be distracted from its gloominess.

Being an adult means you have access to some pretty fun toys

quadcopterOne advantage to having the responsibilities is that it typically means you have more control over the budget. If you have kids, this can translate to the perfect excuse for buying new toys. With the advances in technology there are some really interesting ones out there. The quadcopter, for instance, is a great sort of toy that is available in both kid oriented and adult oriented models. A lot of photographers have actually begun using them for amazing photos that would not of been possible before. They are a good example of a childhood toy that adults have been able to adapt to satisfy both work and play.

Why having fun works

When you are depressed your mind either refuses to focus or focuses on only the negative things. Having play time, or keeping up with an enjoyable hobby is a good way to fight depression. If you find yourself loosing interest in it, change it up. Keeping the smile on your face is a reliable therapy for depression, but don’t let it become tedious. If child-like playfulness is not within your abilities, explore yourself. Try watching comedies, attending stand-up sessions, or even browse local attractions until you find something that puts the same sparkle in your eyes that you had when you were a kid. Depression can make you loose sight of joy, one way to fight back is to make re-finding it an adventure.

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Is coffee good or bad for depression?

Coffee cup and coffee beans on old wooden backgroundWhile avoiding junk food and being active when you are depressed is helpful, a lot of people question if that includes avoiding coffee as well. There have been a lot of studies done in the past few years to examine the potential relationship between drinking the right amount of coffee and avoiding depression.

One 10 year study that was published a few years ago showed a possible connection in women. They noticed that of the 50,000 participants, the 2,6000 who became depressed drank very little or non-caffeinated coffee. The other subjects, who drank at around two cups a day, seemed more resistant to becoming depressed. One scientist from the study suggested that the possible reason the women did not drink as much coffee was out of fear it would cause sleeping problems. As caffeine is a stimulant, too much of it, too close to bed time can cause or agitate troubled sleeping conditions. If you are depressed, you are likely already having trouble getting a good nights rest and don’t want to endanger it. That fear aside, the end result of the study was clear, and showed a trend of reduced chance of depression with more coffee consumption. Other studies including men have shown the similar results as well, so as a preventative, it is quite possible.

Does drinking coffee help after you’ve become depressed?

Once you’ve become depressed you have to cope with all the various issues it creates. Insomnia and unstable moods are part of depression and too much caffeine can make them worse. No study has been widely published yet to prove if starting a strict addition of coffee to your diet while being depressed has proven helpful. One reason why this remains an unknown potential is that caffeine can have severe interactions with some medications that are commonly taken to treat depression. If you are looking for more natural treatment options, then having a couple cups in the morning and mid-day may be a possible addition to your regimen.

The bottom line is that it depends on the person

As with anything involving the human body, no two people with exactly identical reactions. Studies have shown that as a preventative measure, around two or more cups or coffee per day seemed to dramatically decrease the changes of becoming depressed. The chemicals found in coffee, including caffeine, can all have a positive effect that helps uplift mood and focus. However, as the same ingredients that produce these effects is a stimulant, it is possible to have too much and produce quite negative reactions.

If you are unsure, especially if you are taking medications, always talk to your mental health doctor before adding something new to your treatment plan. If they agree it is safe to try, then slowly introduce it to you diet and remember to keep it limited to the early daytime hours. Be sure to monitor how you feel in comparison to before you began drinking it ,and after using a journal or log. Note how much coffee you drank, at what times you drank it and any noticeable changes in mood or possible effects on sleep.

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Why Exercise can be as powerful as any treatment for depression

Aside from helping you stay healthy, exercising can also be one of the most powerful ways of fighting depression. Studies have shown that endorphins produced while being physically active can help combat the imbalance that may be the source of the depression. When you fall into a major depressive state you tend to stop being very active. Getting up, out, and active can help you not only shake away the fog caused by depression, it can also improve a lot of other aspects in your life as well.

Before beginning any new type of exercise

You should always consider what activity is best for you. Generally healthy individuals who are just having issues with depression should have no problem starting just about any type of routine. Those who have chronic conditions, such as heart disease and joint degeneration, should talk with their doctor before starting a new fitness routine. Though it should not prevent you from becoming more active, there are many types of exercise that are safe for just about anyone and a trained medical professional can even help you create a tailored set of moves to accommodate your physical limitations.

For those who would prefer to stay indoors

It can be hard to motivate yourself to go outdoors, or to the fitness club even when you are not depressed. Luckily though, there are a lot of things that you can do inside that will still help you reap the benefits of exercise.

Yoga and dancing

yogaYoga is a very calming form of exercise that can be done just about anywhere and can produce soothing and uplifting sensations. It helps you feel more limber and teaches good breathing practices that are also good for meditation and focus.

Dancing might seem a bit odd, but it can be one of the best forms of exercise when you feeling depressed. With so many different styles to choose from, you can tango across the living room and salsa up the stairs, all without an audience to make you uncomfortable. Aside from producing the same beneficial chemicals as regular exercise, it can be a great source of fun that lifts your spirits.

Turning chores into a fun workout

Who says cleaning has to boring? Conjure up a bit of that childhood imagination and turn it into an adventure. Put on some lively music and make some jaunty moves while going about your household work. You can even turn things into a speed competition. Time yourself on how quickly you can get them done and challenge yourself to beat the score. Excited movements and enthusiasm can get your heart pumping and those wonderful endorphins running.

Using in-home exercise equipment

rowing machines

If you want a closer to traditional type of workout you can do at home, then consider purchasing some at home equipment. Treadmills, for example, are very affordable and can be a simple way to exercise indoors and all year round. Simple weights and weighted straps are another way to either help workout or add to your activities. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get an effective means of exercise.

For those who can get outside

Working out in the home is great, but a lot of people find even more benefit from being able to get outside. Fresh air, sunlight, and potentially joining other people and friends can all help improve the odds of defeating depression with exercise.

Hiking is one outdoor activity that can be adjusted to different needs

Hiking does not always mean going up a mountainside. You can set up a hike whether you are in the city or countryside. A good pair of shoes, comfortable clothes, and perhaps a media device of some kind are basic essentials to a good hike. Not only does it give the endorphin rush of more vigorous exercises, a change of scene can do wonders when trying to change your mood. You can easily go as far as you like, and even begin to include more difficult terrain as you see fit.

Playing with friends

No matter how old you are, getting out with your mates and having a game of football, rugby, or even just throwing a disc around can be a good way to exercise your body and uplift the mind. Having fun, being active, being outside, and with friends can all have a powerful effect on your mental state. You can even channel the energy you spend on worrying and focusing on negative thoughts into something new, like a game of Ultimate Frisbee.

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How music can change your mood

Music for depressionMusic is a powerful force. It can do anything, from rousing a crowd to a cheer to helping lull a little one to sleep. It is personal and universal at the same time. Many scientific studies have been conducted over the years, especially in the last decade, to confirm or discover new ways in which music can impact a person. In relation to your mood, specifically depression, it has the power to help lift you up or provide a means of voicing the thoughts and feelings inside your head.

Listening at home, or wherever you are.

Research has shown that there are parts of the ear that send signals directly to the part of the brain that controls emotion. It is why we can be so deeply affected by it, and why it can be so useful for therapy. Having a sound system, either on your computer or in the home is a great way to surround yourself with therapeutic music. Its also good to have a means of taking music with you, for when you need a quick pick me up in between tasks.

Making music can be even more powerful than just listening to it.

From something as simple to singing out loud, to using in home DJ equipment, making your own music can be a great way to exercise your ability to express how you feel. From a hands on approach with instruments to using DJ software to mix and edit new tunes, it does not matter what you use. The point is to have fun and do something to release the feelings that have been weighing you down.

A quick bonus

Check out this great YouTube video with some beautiful music to relax and sooth the soul:

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