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If Your Depression Creeps In At Night, Here’s What To Do

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How To Deal With Depression And Anxiety At Night So You Can Sleep Better

Depression sucks and it's even worse at night.

Are you struggling with depression and wondering how to stop feeling depressed at night?

Severe depression is horrible and, for some reason, it seems to get worse at night. There is something about the sun going down and the silence settling in that makes depression and anxiety seem more profound.

How exciting is it that daylight savings time is here and with the time change, the nights are getting shorter!

I have lived with depression for years but have learned how to deal with depression so you, too, can manage those nighttime depressed thoughts.

RELATED: How To Deal With Depression During Major Life Transitions

For me, there are two separate times of the night when depression symptoms need to be managed: the evening hours before bed and then the time during the night when I wake up.

Tips for both times of the night are a little bit different to deal with for different people, but in the end, you learn how to get out of depression and get a good night's sleep in the process.

Here are 7 effective ways to deal with depression and anxiety at nighttime that really work.

1. Keep your mind busy

An important part of how to stop feeling depressed at night is to keep your mind busy during the evening hours.

The thing about nighttime is that we often don’t have enough to do so our brains, instead of being productive, go down the path towards all the things that are wrong in our life which then leads to — and deepens — our depression. It’s important to stop your thoughts from going down that path before they even start.

Things like reading, watching your favorite show on Netflix, and talking or texting with a friend are all things that will keep your mind busy during the night and away from all of the negative self-talk.

Stay off social media if you are feeling depressed because, sometimes, social media makes you feel more connected to the world. But, more often than not, social media can make you feel isolated and less than. So, text away with a friend but spending hours on Snap Chat or Instagram will not serve you well.

2. Do things that comfort you

An important part of managing how to overcome depression at night is to do things that comfort you.

For me, a cup of tea and a hot bath go a long way towards making me feel loved and comforted. I also have a weighted blanket that I curl up under when I watch TV. Something about the weight on your body has been clinically proven to make a big difference with people who are struggling with depression and anxiety.

What are things that would comfort you at night? Take stock of those things now, by the light of day, so you can have them at the ready.

Ice cream and sugar are things many people turn to but I would encourage you to stay away from those things at night because they could interfere with your sleep. If you must have sugar, the earlier in the evening the better.

3. Journal

If you find that you have not been able to stop those negative thoughts in their tracks, a good thing to do if you’re feeling depressed at night is to journal.

There’s something about getting those negative thoughts out of your head and onto paper that makes them easier to manage. Sometimes, when we see our thoughts written out on paper, they become less powerful because we can see them more clearly.

If you don’t have an official journal, that’s okay. Just get a notebook and write things down or, if you want to, you can use your computer. (I find that using a pen and paper is the most effective for me.)

4. Know that the morning will come

An important part of how to stop feeling depressed at night is to keep in mind that, no matter what, the morning and the sunshine will come.

Sometimes, that nighttime depression makes us think that we will never get through the night, that we will never see the light of day. That our depression will overwhelm us and the night will never end.

But night has never not turned to day. And with day, comes work and friends and activities and sunshine. Even if it continues, depression can seem not so heavy during the light of day.

If you happen to wake up in the middle of the night and can't fall back asleep, there are 3 things you can do that won't make your depression worse.

1. Don’t lay there ruminating

If you wake up in the middle of the night and find that your depression comes roaring back because all of your negative thoughts wake up with you, a really important thing to do is to not lie there, ruminating.

Instead, pick up your book or a magazine — but not your phone — to distract your mind from those thoughts. Try reading for 20 minutes to increase your chances of falling back asleep instead of just laying there and working yourself up, thinking about things.

Keep some reading material next to your bed so if you do wake up at night, you don’t spend those precious sleep hours in your head.

You’ll be much better able to face the next day if you get enough sleep and that will, in turn, help you manage your depression.

RELATED: Why Your Marriage Might Be Making You Depressed (& 4 Ways To Bounce Back)

2. Use a calming app

There are a lot of calming apps out there now that can help ease your anxiety and depression during the nighttime. They use meditation, music, words of affirmation and other means to help your body and mind stay calm at night.

My favorite is Calm but I know there are others. Look around and see what works for you.

3. Look forward to the morning

Again, when we are lying awake at night, it’s often hard to believe that the long night hours will ever end. But if there’s one thing you can believe, always, it’s that the sun will rise.

So, don’t sink into the darkness of the night. Have hope that tomorrow will come and, with it, another day.

Now that you've figured out how to stop feeling depressed, good for you! 

Nighttime depression can be completely debilitating but managing it is not impossible.

In the evening hours, make an effort to keep your mind occupied, give yourself comfort, write out your words and have hope for tomorrow. Overnight, again try to keep your mind from sabotaging you and use those apps to help you get back to sleep.

If you are still struggling with depression and these tips don’t help, reach out to your primary care doctor to talk to them about more ways to manage your depression. It’s important to stay on top of it so that it doesn’t get worse.

You can do it!

RELATED: 15 Statements That Explain What It Feels Like To Be Depressed

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. She works with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world. Email her and get started

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.