People who suffer with both depression and insomnia often wonder which to tackle first. Should they treat the depression and trust the insomnia sorts itself out? Or should they try to cure the insomnia in the hope that they will feel less depressed with better sleep?
My research shows it’s best to treat both complaints at the same time, otherwise they tend to feed on each other. One of the symptoms of depression is waking up early – at about 4 o’clock in the morning. Now how can anyone feel cheerful at 4 o’clock on a dark morning?
When we’re tired and sleep deprived, it’s hard to look on the bright side of things isn’t it? We need to treat the depression and the insomnia at the same time. Doing so will bring faster and more permanent results.
When talking about depression, I’m referring to all types of depression. True there are different kinds of depression, for example clinical & non clinical, but all types of depression make you feel lousy!
The symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling sad, anxious, irritable or empty
- Feelings of hopeless – things will never improve
- Loss of enjoyment in things that were once pleasurable
- No energy
- Can’t concente or make decisions
- Loss of appetite
- An increase or decrease in the need for sleep
- Thoughts of suicide. (If you are thinking of suicide seek medical help right away.)
An inability to sleep, or insomnia, is one of the signs of depression. (A small percentage of depressed people, approximately 15%, oversleep, or sleep too much.) Lack of sleep alone cannot cause depression, but it does play a role.
Natural cures for depression and insomnia…
- Learn relaxation and deep breathing techniques.
- Clear your head of concerns by writing a list of activities that need to be completed the next day and tell yourself you’ll think about it tomorrow.
- Get regular exercise, no later than a few hours before bedtime.
- Don’t use caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine in the evening.
- Don’t lie in bed tossing and turning. Get out of bed and do something in another room if you can’t fall asleep.
- Only go back to bed when you’re feeling drowsy.
- Don’t lie in bed to watch TV. This way, your bed becomes a cue for sleeping.
- Get enough light, lack of light during the day has been linked to seasonal depression.
Some depression medications can actually cause insomnia. Check with your health care providor to make sure your medication is not stimulating you and keeping you awake. People react differently to medications so even if your medication is supposed to increase relaxation, you may have the opposite reaction. For instance the newer selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (eg Prozac) often prescribed for depression, can cause drowsiness in some people and insomnia and acute anxiety in others.
St John’s Wort is a natural herbal remedy that helps both insomnia and depression and is well worth a try. There are many advantages to using St John’s Wort over prescription medication including cost, saftey and effectiveness.
Catch you next month, take care!