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How Are You Sleeping?
Michael D Yapko, PhD posted:
Did you know that insomnia is the most common symptom related to depression? Insomnia can take several forms:having difficulty initially falling asleep or staying asleep, the latter manifesting as either middle of the night or early morning awakenings. Chronic insomnia sufferers report a decreased quality of life, loss of memory functions, feeling fatigued, unable to concentrate well, and diminished interest in socializing or engaging in pleasurable activities, further increasing depressive symptoms A sleep disturbance can increase the risk for alcohol-related problems. Survey respondents who reported sleep disturbances, more than 12 years later, had twice as high a rate of alcohol-related problems.

Interventions currently in use for treating depression-related insomnia fall into two general categories: medications and psychotherapy. Self-help strategies, including hypnosis (which I discussed in my last post), are a viable option.The use of self-help techniques for enhancing sleep offers several key advantages: Self-help will not lead to either drug addiction or dependence, it can be applied under all conditions, it is a low cost intervention, and it will not lead to potentially harmful interactions with other interventions.

Here are some things you can do to improve your sleep:

1) Do your best to get on a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time each day. This is the most important thing you can do.

2) Avoid caffeine (coffee, sodas, chocolate).

3) Avoid alcohol. For people who are depressed or are at risk for depression, alcohol is a very bad drug.

4) Many people who suffer insomnia go to bed and then start thinking about problems, engaging in rumination. Try and re-direct your thoughts by asking what you can actually do about the problems. It's easier to learn to let go when you are clear there's nothing to be done about some things and it's easier to feel empowered if you decide to take effective action when action is possible.

5) Enhance your skills in "time-organization" in order to better separate bed-time from problem-solving time.

6) Learn "mind-clearing" relaxation strategies, especially self-hypnosis strategies of one type or another. This is can be a HUGE help. You can easily make a recording to listen to at bedtime of your own voice calmly, slowly conducting a relaxation process, perhaps describing a good vacation in detail you once took or something similarly comforting. It will help re-focus you on relaxing and make it easier to drift off to sleep and to stay asleep.
An_203657 responded:
I can't remember the last time I went to bed and slept. I have trouble falling asleep and staying there. Even when I'm tired sleep just doesn't come easily. I get so angry at my husband because he can fall asleep at the drop of a hat, and could sleep through a bomb going off in his ear (well maybe jealous or both).

Even when I was young (I'm 33) I don't recall sleeping well. For as long as I remember I have had trouble sleeping. I have always had trouble falling and staying asleep. After I had my last son, and suffered pretty bad postpartum depression, I was prescribed Ambien. It made me sleepy, but I would still get up, although I wouldn't always remember getting up, but between my husband telling me and seeing evidence of it, I knew I had been. (I have tried melatonin, and it makes me sleepy, but does not help me get to sleep or staying there)

My current sleep schedule (if you want to call it that)... I go to bed between 1:30am and 2:20am. I get up at 4:15am to make sure my husband gets up for work (otherwise he sleeps right through the alarm most mornings). I go back to bed after I'm sure he is up and not going to lay back down. I then get up at 6:45am to get my 6yr old ready for school and on the bus. Once he is off to school, I come in and if my 2 yr old is still sleeping, I lay back down (anywhere between a few minutes to an hour). My 2yr rarely takes a nap, so then I'm up the rest of the day.

After 10 or so days like this, I finally have to sleep. About every other Saturday, I get the opportunity to "catch up." I get up with the kids by 7:30am, make breakfast, clean up, and then I HAVE to lay down. But even then, I don't really sleep. It is like my body shuts down, but many times I can still hear everything that is going on! I can hear the conversations, kids fighting, cat meowing, phone ringing, water running........

I have to wonder how to you sleep and really sleep? If in the face of shear exhaustion, your mind still doesn't shut off long enough to "sleep" what do you do?
PrincessLeia56022 responded:
My problem is the exact opposite: I sleep way too much. I go to bed between 9:30 and 10 because I am exhausted at this point. I sleep straight through the night and have a terrible time getting up when the alarm goes off at 8 in the morning. Everything I come across about sleep and depression focuses on insomnia and I would like to see something about oversleeping and being tired all the time.

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