Good mental health is never something that can be predicted or anticipated, and for many people, the lowest moments of their day and lives can be pinpointed to the dark, late hours of the night and early hours of the morning. Nighttime depression is an identifiable and acknowledged condition all on its own, and for lots of individuals around the world, it is something that can have a hugely negative impact on things like sleep health and insomnia.
It is fair to say that depression can often feel at its worst when someone is alone at night, and this is certainly the case with those diagnosed with nighttime depression. If you are familiar with this type of mental health problem, then here are some tips for how to manage and cope with your bouts of nighttime depression.
Try to Unwind before You Go to Bed
Being overstimulated is one of the worst things that you can do before heading to bed, so to fight against this you should get into a routine that eliminates all sources of artificial light. This means not using technology in your bedroom. This process can start before you actually go to bed. Get off your smartphone, computer, or TV and instead do something like read a real book or listen to some quiet music or a podcast with your eyes closed. The stimulation that your brain receives from visual technology so close to sleep time can add extra hours to your settling downtime, which in turn can lead to those feelings of depression.
Only Use Your Bed for Sleeping
To help your body and mind drift off to sleep at a faster rate, you should get into the habit of only treating your bedroom as the place where you go to get rest. If you are the kind of person who lounges around in bed doing things like watching TV and surfing the web, then your mind can’t disassociate from those activities and your anxiety and depression will have time to flourish in your waking hours in bed. Get into the routine of only hopping into bed when it is actually time to go to sleep for the night.
Stick to a Regular Evening Routine
Depression and anxiety can be triggered by things like unpredictability, which is why it is so important to establish a pleasant evening routine and stick to it. The more regular and unsurprising your evenings can be, the more likely it is that you will be able to get your mental health to a state where you don’t experience feelings of depression and anxiety as the nighttime rolls around. When people are in control of their time management and have clear plans for the hours ahead, the elements of surprise and the ‘unknown’ don’t come into play at all.
Don't Force Yourself to Go to Sleep
Something that is also really important is the fact that you should not try to force yourself to go to sleep when your mind and body are not ready for it. Heading to bed and laying down with your eyes closed when you are not tired is only going to result in one thing, and that is being left alone, in the dark and quiet, with your negative thoughts.
Depression and anxiety are just like other kinds of emotions and feelings that you try not to encourage. If you give yourself the chance to dwell on them, they are going to rise to the surface. Be more relaxed about the time that you hit the sack and instead focus on being able to recognize the signs that you are actually tired. Once you start to pick up on the difference between wanting to go to sleep and actually ‘needing’ to go to sleep, your nighttime routine can change drastically for the better.
Nighttime depression can lead to insomnia and other health problems, including physical health. If you cannot find a way to manage your nighttime depression, seek professional help.