Insomnia and Depression are extremely common forms of mental disease affecting millions of people around the world. Insomnia represents the most common sleep disorder and can affect people as a primary or secondary disorder associated with other disease processes. Depression is frequently associated with insomnia and many researchers debate the causal linkage between insomnia, depression, and a host of other physical and mental ailments.
“People suffering from depression and insomnia should seek medical consultation to work toward uncovering all the causal factors that may be contributing to their symptoms. Many patients refuse to acknowledge that they are experiencing these symptoms and fail to work toward a diagnosis and solution with their physician.”
1. Eat a healthy diet
One of the first things an individual should do is ensure they are eating a healthy and appropriate diet, regularly exercising, working to maintain an ideal body weight, removing burdensome stressors from their lives, and creating a restful sleeping environment.
2. Avoid coffee and cigarettes
Drinking caffeinated and alcoholic beverages near bedtime can lead to poor sleep; leaving the person lethargic and fatigued the next day. The half-life for caffeine is 5.7 hours and therefore if you have a cup of coffee or other caffeinated drink it takes almost 6 hours to remove only half of the caffeine from your body. Nicotine abuse has also been linked to insomnia as has been reported in tobacco users.
3. Do regular exercise
Regular exercise has been proven to help treat insomnia and it doesn’t have to be the regimen of an elite athlete. Moderate exercise a few times per week can be all that is needed to get a better night sleep. Obesity has been associated as a causal factor in some forms of sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, and therefore maintaining an ideal body weight is an important factor in good sleep hygiene .
4. Avoid stress
Stressful work environments can lead to anxiety and insomnia, so working to clear worrisome “to-do lists” and learning how to set limits is crucial if one is to sleep well. A thoughtful sleep environment is key to allow for a restful night sleep, including reducing distracting noise, minimizing light, and setting an appropriate room temperature.
Working to ensure you have good night’s sleep can be the first step in treating insomnia and reducing potentially associated symptoms of depression. These symptoms, if persistent, warrant a consultation with your physician to ensure a metabolic, psychological, or other disease process is not responsible.