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8 Ways of Coping With Nighttime Depression

Dr. Nyla Shafiq Chaudhry

3 min read

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Depression is a common medical illness that is accompanied by physical and emotional symptoms. It is characterized by a feeling of sadness and loss of interest in things. Depression is experienced differently by everyone. Even though it can strike at any time during the day, some people feel more depressed at night. At night, the symptoms worsen and make it difficult for them to fall asleep. Daydreaming, overthinking, exposure to light at night and disruption of circadian rhythms are some of the causes of nighttime depression. Fortunately, depression is treatable. Here are some ways to overcome nighttime depression:

1- Hit The Gym:

A gym session after work can help improve your mood as exercise releases” endorphins, the “feel-good” chemicals. An intense workout session will also make you feel tired and this may make it easier for you to fall asleep. Exercising can also increase your ability to cope with stress. Some studies have shown that working up a sweat can sometimes be as effective as antidepressants.

2- Stop The Use Of Gadgets Two Hours Before Bed:

Bright screens affect melatonin production and disrupt your sleep cycle. Try to avoid bright screens at bedtime. Try going the old-fashioned way and cozy up with a good book. Alternatively, listening to calm and soothing music before you sleep can help too!

3- Participate In Activities That You Enjoy:

It is recommended that you engage in activities that uplift your mood. For instance, you can participate in hobbies that you enjoy such as reading, writing, drawing or painting.

When you engage yourself in things you enjoy, your thoughts will be focused on positive things and this will push the negative thoughts away. Taking up hobbies will also give you something to look forward to, thereby, eliminating the possibility of overthinking and worry.

4- Call A Friend:

People who are depressed tend to ruminate. This means they think about the past events and wonder if the outcomes could have been different. They tend to replay those events over and over again and this makes them even more depressed.

Instead of trying to make sense of the things on your own, it is a good idea to call a friend and discuss your future course of action. The conversation could probably  give you more clarity. Your friend might have a different perspective on the situation and may give you a solution that you might not have thought of. A friend or a family member can help divert your attention away from the problems that are troubling you.

5- Avoid Going To Bed Until You Are Very Tired:

If you go to bed when you are very sleepy, you will fall asleep soon and this will leave less time to think about problems. Try to have a conversation with family members if you are not sleepy or read a good novel or magazine.

6- Try To Write Down Your Problems 

If you find yourself sitting at the dining table or on the couch and your depression is intensifying, get a journal out and write down your thoughts and feelings.

When you are finished, close the journal and put it aside, and try to think of ‘saying goodnight’ to your worries by doing so. Now you can decide on a positive activity to enjoy for the evening and begin to relax.

7- Think About Things You Are Grateful For

Gratitude is a very powerful tool for increasing happiness and reducing symptoms of depression.

Each night (you may wish to make this part of your pre-sleep routine), take a moment to think of three to five things you are grateful or thankful for that particular day. You may wish to jot them down in a ‘gratitude journal’. Things you may be grateful for on a particular day:

  • the love and support of your partner/family/friends as you manage depression
  • the smile from a stranger as you walked home from work
  • the beautiful fresh food you ate for dinner
  • access to clean running water so you could enjoy your warm bath before bed

When we look around, there is an abundance of things to be grateful for. Thinking about the things that made you feel happy or relieved during your day is a good starting point. Nothing is too simple to be grateful for!

8- Try Problem-Solving

When we feel depressed we often think about why we are not coping, or feel defeated about a situation, etc.  When you are able to think clearly, it is worth giving problem-solving a shot.

Try thinking about one or more things you can do to begin overcoming your hurdles. You may wish to brainstorm on paper, or call a loved one for their ideas. This tactic can help you to stop ruminating over the same problem and instead help you to move forward from it.

If nighttime depression is affecting your work and personal life,, it is recommended that you visit a specialist doctor and get help. You can book an appointment with a top psychiatrist in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore through oladoc.com. You can also call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your health concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Nyla Shafiq Chaudhry - Author Dr. Nyla Shafiq Chaudhry is among the Best Psychiatrists in Lahore. Dr. Nyla Shafiq Chaudhry is a Psychiatrist. She has a MBBS, MCPS (Psychiatry), DMP and MD (USA) degree along with an experience of 24 years.
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