Arghhhh Sleep – lack of it, too much or just happening at the wrong time! You’ll probably experience all the above if you are anxious, depressed or menopausal. I originally wrote this post as part of my self help for your mental health series and titled it “sleep and duvet days”, however, I know many of my readers are menopausal or have chronic pain so some of these tips might be useful to you too.
[AD: Sponsored post – all words and tips are my own.]
GET UP GET DRESSED
Depression and anxiety are debilitating and 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.
It can be so hard to get out of bed when you don’t want to face the world. Allow yourself a couple of duvet days if you really need them but then make a real effort to get up each morning.
No matter how much effort it takes, get up, have a shower, do your hair, clean your teeth, get dressed and have a light breakfast. Even if you collapse on the sofa half an hour later and need a nap, it is better for you than staying in bed during the day.
Try and go out for a little walk, hold your head up high, smile and say hello to any passer-by. Even if it’s just for a few moments, it may lift your spirits. It might scare the life out of you, but 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. Make sure you have a decent mattress such as a Mammoth mattress which have medical grade foam that can provide additional pressure relief or faster cooling properties – a great benefit to those in pain or experiencing hot flushes. Nice bedding is beneficial too.
If you sleep during the day try to keep it to a short nap in a chair or sofa. Duvet days are needed sometimes, but only for a couple of days, no more.
WAYS TO PROMOTE GOOD SLEEP HYGIENE
It’s worth trying all the age-old methods to help you sleep at night. Try and get a night time routine going so that your body knows when it’s time for sleep:
* Do some light exercise during the day.
* Try yoga or qi-gong in the evening.
* Eat your main meal earlier in the day.
* Avoid caffeine or alcohol before bed, opt for water or a hot milky drink if you are thirsty.
* Soak in a warm bath before bed.
* Put some lavender oil on a tissue under your pillow.
* Try a magnesium and lavender body lotion/spray before bedtime.
* Make sure your bedroom is dark.
* Have your window slightly open.
* Keep the heating off at night.
* Listen to gentle background music or a guided meditation.
* Try reading a book or listen to an audio story.
* Practise slow, deep breathing.
* Try a weighted blanket if you suffer from anxiety.
* I always sleep much better in freshly laundered bedding.
* Wear uncomfortable and unrestricted nightwear.
* Talk to a friend/partner or write down your worries in a journal before bed so your mind isn’t quite so focused on dark thoughts.
* Similarly, write a to do list for the next day if your thoughts are likely to overwhelm you.
* Turn your phone and notifications off an hour or two before bed to allow yourself to totally relax.
* Try to go to bed at the same time each night and set an alarm for the next morning to promote regular sleep patterns.
If you are taking medication for your mental health or menopause, sometimes your pharmacist or doctor may be able to make small changes to your prescription to aid better sleep.
During one particularly bad case of depression, I was sleeping in the day and not at night. My pharmacist was able to make some suggestions regarding dosage and the way I took my antidepressants. It did actually help get me back into a better sleep pattern on that occasion.
Or maybe a different prescription altogether might be the answer.
If you’ve tried all the above and aren’t on medication, maybe a short course may help just to get you into a sleeping pattern. Herbal and natural remedies are available as well as prescription medications. Do speak to your doctor or pharmacist about this.
IMPORTANT Always take advice from a qualified practitioner regarding your medication.
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.
WORK WITH ME
If you are struggling with your own mental health and wellbeing you may find the rest of my series useful.
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