For most people with depression, the mornings can be the worst. If you do manage to sleep, waking up to the day to face morning depression can just feel like too much. Or maybe you wake up at 3am. and then battle to fall asleep again. This is known as the dark hour of the night, a terrible time to be lying awake while everyone around you slumbers on in silence.
If you are suffering from morning depression, be assured that you are not alone. The first step is to get medical help. You probably need some anti-depressants to help with the depression.
Normalize your sleep patterns
What to avoid:
- Avoid getting overstimulated before you go to bed and maybe even consider taking something like Melatonin to try and normalize your sleeping patterns. At times sleeping pills might be prescribed but take care as they can be addictive. I find a glass of warm milk to be very helpful when I can’t get to sleep.
- Watching exciting TV programs or using the computer can have a stimulating effect which makes falling asleep much harder.
What to do when your thoughts keep you awake.
If you battle with all sorts of thoughts that keep you awake at night keep a notebook beside your bed. Jot down any thoughts that worry you, or any tasks that come to mind that need your attention. Get them out of your head and onto paper. When the thought comes back to worry you again, remind yourself that you’ve written it down and you’ll deal with it in the morning. If you wake up at 3 am. with thoughts bombarding you, write these down as well. This will slow down the ‘runaway train’ of thoughts, slowing them down to the same pace as you can write.This definitely helps.
Reading a relaxing book, or listening to soothing music before you go to bed is a better night-time activity.
Watch your thoughts
Don’t let your negative thoughts take a hold of you. If you start off the day, thinking that the day’s going to be bad, it probably will be. If you can say to yourself that you don’t feel great at the moment, but know from experience that the day will get better, you will be starting on the right footing. You can get through the bad, knowing that your mood will improve over the day. Thinking that it’s better to just crawl back into bed for the day, and then doing exactly that, is actually a very bad idea. Just because you don’t feel like getting up, does not mean that it’s a good idea to stay in bed all day! Do the right thing despite how you feel. Your mood will start lifting as soon as you start doing something.
Sometimes it is hard for a depressed person to do anything, but giving yourself little goals can certainly help. Don’t get overwhelmed by looking at the big picture, all the tasks you have to do. That could totally overwhelm you into doing nothing. Break down a large task into small sub-tasks. Little steps at a time are far more achievable.
Have a routine
- Some people find having a dog makes all the difference. Dogs need to be taken for walks and let out in the morning. It gives a sense of purpose and as ‘dogs are man’s best friend’ the mutual affection can be so rewarding.
- Have a set routine in the morning so you don’t have to give your mornings much thought.
- Set your alarm to a gentle ring – you really don’t want to be shocked into waking up!
- Have a shower as the ions released from the flowing water are a good mood enhancer.
- If necessary, have your clothes laid out the night before so you don’t have to make any decisions about what to wear.
- Eat a healthy breakfast.
- I really don’t need to say this but exercise is also good as it releases dopamines which are the happy brain chemicals.
Find a purpose
If you feel you have no purpose in life, you will wake up feeling depressed as you have nothing to look forward to during the day. If you are employed you can focus your thoughts on work, which can be a great help. However, if your job is very stressful, you might need help in dealing with the stress. If you are on your own and not working, look for some activity that will give you meaning. Either taking up a hobby, or get involved in charity work. Somehow helping others can make ones own plight a lot more bearable.
Reassure yourself that even though the morning depression is bad, you know that things will only get better during the day as you move on and face the day!
Cognitive Therapy, or therapy of the thoughts is regarded as the most beneficial therapy for depression. Therapy can be especially effective when combined with medication, taken under a doctor’s care. If you would like to learn more about ‘therapy of the thoughts’ please click here which will take you to my article on Cognitive Therapy which deals with how to sort out depressive thinking.
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