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Q

I did an online test that said that I was depressed and that’s why I can’t sleep because the thoughts keep me awake. What can I do?

A

Have you noticed that depression nags at you? It especially nags at you at night.

“Stay awake and think difficult thoughts!” it demands.

“Over and over” it says.

“This leads to that!” it cries out, even if you are wrecked and exhausted.

Sleep is a really important tool in silencing the nagging of depression. How can you get sleep?

  • go to bed at the same time each night, even if you don’t think that you’ll sleep
  • make sure you exercise but do it in the day or before dinner, not just before bed
  • don’t watch TV or use the computer or phone or iPad/tablet at least an hour before bed
  • find a soothing bedtime routine. Try
    • a warm bath
    • warm milky drink without caffeine
    • listening to soothing, relaxing music
    • reading
    • writing in a journal about the highlights of your day 
    • writing down your worries so that you don’t have to think about them while you sleep
    • using aromatherapy
    • turning the lights down
    • anything else that helps your brain and body switch into rest mode.

If your thoughts start bothering you:

  • put them on an imaginary conveyer belt in your mind, like at the airport and watch them go around and around but don’t pick them up, just watch them.
  • breathe through your nose, starting with a breath out then in then out and feel the rise and fall of your chest.

Make sure your bed is comfortable and that you only use it to sleep. This means no watching tv or DVDs late at night, texting, checking email or Facebook or playing games on your phone etc.

Make sure that you wake up to a bright light. Leave your blinds/curtains open or get up when your alarm goes off and turn on bright bedroom lights. That resets you internal body clock.

It would also be really helpful to talk to an adult that you trust about how you're feeling. This might be a teacher, parents, school counsellor or other relative or family friend. You can also call Kids Helpline 24/7 on 1800 55 1800.

This resource is tagged with:
stress and mental health emotions and healthy minds