Arghhhh Sleep – lack of it, too much or just happening at the wrong time! You’ll probably experience all the above during your illness.
Depression is hard work and debilitating. It can leave you with no energy or enthusiasm to do anything. You might not feel capable of getting up. You might wonder what the point in getting up is but it’s important to try and establish a day/night routine.
GET UP GET DRESSED
It can be so hard to get out of bed even if you don’t have to face the world. I would allow yourself to have a couple of duvet days when you feel like that, but then make a real effort to get up each morning.
No matter how much effort it takes to do it, have a shower, do your hair, clean your teeth and get dressed. Have a light breakfast, then even if you collapse on the sofa half an hour later and need a sleep, it is better for you than staying in bed during the day.
If you are not working, try and go out for a little walk, hold your head up high, smile and say hello to any passerby. Even just for a few moments, it may lift your spirits. If it scares the life out of you, you will show yourself just how strong you really are.
If you have a partner ask them to give you a bit of a massage to help relax you at any time of the day, not just before bedtime. I’m a big fan of using argan oil for massage as it has little smell and is non greasy, great for skin dryness too.
It’s really important to keep your bed for sleeping in at night only. If you sleep during the day try to keep it to naps in a chair or sofa. Duvet days are needed sometimes but only for a couple of days, no more.
It’s worth trying all the age-old methods to help you sleep at night:
* Have a hot milky drink before bed
* Soak in a warm bath
* Put some lavender oil on a tissue under your pillow
* Make sure your bedroom is dark
* Have your window slightly open
* Keep the heating off at night
* Listen to gentle background music
* Try reading a book or listen to an audio story
* Do some light exercise during the day
One tip that’s not widely noted is with regards to your medication. I was sleeping in the day and not at night so my pharmacist suggested taking my anti-depressants at a different time of day* which did actually help during one episode. Or maybe a different prescription altogether might be the answer. Do speak to your doctor or pharmacist about this.
* IMPORTANT Only do this with medical advice first as it is not suitable for all medication and wasn’t an option for me any other time.
SELF HELP FOR MENTAL HEALTH TIPS
1. SELF HELP FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
2. THE FULL STORY OF MY MENTAL ILLNESS
3. MEDICAL HELP
4. LEARN AND ACCEPT
5. A MENTAL HEALTH DIET
6. SLEEP & DUVET DAYS
7. PANIC ATTACKS
8. SUICIDE AWARENESS
9. TALK SUPPORT
10. QI GONG & TAI CHI
11. MEDITATION, HYPNOSIS & RELAXATION
12. ADVICE FOR CARERS & FRIENDS
SEE PART 1 FOR LINKS TO PROFESSIONAL & CHARITABLE ORGANISATIONS
I hope that this will help someone out there – please let me know if it does or if you’ve got any tips to pass on to help with restful sleep.