Nourish Your Body: Eat Nutritious Meals
A balanced diet that includes an abundance of fresh food can greatly assist us to get the energy we need to operate at our best. Lack of good quality food in the right quantities can result in reduced blood sugar levels and worsened depressive symptoms. In the mornings, particularly if we are struggling with depression, we often opt for the easiest breakfast we can get our hands on . Often this will include processed foods or ingredients which may not have the same nutritional value as fresh, whole foods. It is important to eat a nutritious wholefood breakfast to bring our blood sugar levels back up to a level where we can function more efficiently. This helps to reduce tiredness associated with morning depression.
While a nutritious breakfast helps you start the day, there are a number of foods that are thought to help manage depression that could be included into your meals throughout the day. For example:
- Dark leafy greens such as spinach, watercress and kale are rich in folate, a water-soluble B vitamin. Low folate levels have been linked to depressive symptoms.
- Dark Chocolate -yes, dark chocolate . Cocoa beans contain antioxidants that can lower the risk of depression.
- Other foods high in antioxidants include fruits and vegetables, nuts and whole-grains.
Its Time To Wake Up Refreshed
Wouldnt it feel good to wake up with a spring in your step and a smile on your face? Yeah, I bet you pictured a silly cartoon character jumping out of bed. Well, its possible to get close to this feeling and ward off quite a bit of morning depression.
So, try these things, try something you havent done before. Instead of just falling into bed, try creating a place that your body and mind will enjoy waking up to. I know Im going to try a few of these for myself.
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Tips For Coping With The Inability To Wake Up
If a mental health condition is making it hard for you to wake up, below are some tips to help you cope:
If you or a loved one are finding it challenging to wake up due to a mental health condition, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
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Ways To Cope With This Depression
1. Improving sleep environment
Making improvements in your sleep environment can change the way you feel when you wake up. This is because these changes help you sleep better, thus you feel better in general. Some things to consider when setting up your sleep environment:
- turn off televisions,
Usually, your mood can be a bit lighter if youre not still fighting sleeplessness.
2. Wake up earlier
If you have depression in the morning, and you sleep as long as you can before work, then change this. Instead, get up earlier and do something before you have to get ready for work. It really doesnt matter what you do as long as its productive and you stay busy. Why does this help? Its because doing something in the morning before work reduces morning humdrum and you feel more energized for your job.
3. Turn on the lights immediately
As soon as you wake up, either open a curtain or switch on an overhead light. Light is a great weapon against depression because of how depression interacts with vitamin D. If you can get up and quickly open that window, you are letting natural light come into the room and lifting your mood. Its amazing how fast this works. After a while, depression in the morning will be greatly reduced.
4. Keep it consistent
5. Refrain from caffeine before bedtime
6. Stop ruminating before sleep
7. Prepare for the morning routines
How To Get A Good Nights Sleep When Youre Depressed: 3 Tips
Lets do our best to stop this harmful cyclethe good news is that if youre depressed and your sleep quality is suffering, you can make a few simple changes to get a good nights sleep again. First, drop those energy drinks and pour out your pot of coffee. Now, try crawling into bed only when youre ready for sleep, follow a bedtime routine, and ease yourself asleep:
1) Declare your bed your sleeping place. While beds were made for sleeping, most of us dont strictly use them for sleeping: we watch Netflix in bed, we read in bed, we talk on the phone in bed, we scroll through social media in bed, we do everything we possibly can from the comfort of our bed. I know, its cozy! But what if I told you that you could get a better nights sleep if you declare your bed your sleeping placein which you utilize it strictly for sleeping. Thats right, doing so will help you to sleep soundly at night, as your brain starts to associate your bed with sleep instead of a place for various activities.
2) Follow a bedtime routine. Take some time to put together a relaxing, beneficial bedtime routine. This might include taking a warm shower, journaling, reading your book, or spending a few minutes cuddling with your pup. Once you start employing this routine, your brain will start to associate it with bedtime , and signal to your body that its time to wind down.
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How To Help Someone Who May Be Experiencing Depression
If you are currently experiencing one or more of these symptoms, its okay to seek support. If you are having thoughts of suicide, call 303-492-2277 to access 24/7 crisis support from Counseling and Psychiatric Services .
If you notice a roommate, friend or classmate experiencing any of these symptoms, here are a few things you can do to help:
What Is Samhsa’s National Helpline
SAMHSAs National Helpline, , or TTY: is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
Also visit the online treatment locator.
Anxiety And Depression Support
I feel so depressed right now. Very low mornings are not getting any better. I had another counseling session yesterday but it’s not really made me feel much better. Digging up the past just seems to be making things worse. I don’t know. My GP has referred me back to MH but it will be a few weeks before I hear. I feel so lonely with it. I live on my own. If only I had someone to help me. I hate where I am living but have few options to move right now. I am dreading Christmas. I am normally a friendly and easy going person. It sometimes feels this site is a lifeline for me. Sorry for going on but I don’t know what else I can do to feel better. The covid situation has made things so much worse. Does anyone else have low mornings? Any help appreciated.
If you see my latest post I completely understand my anxiety this morning is out of control.
Its good that you are writing here. Blessings to you. So sorry you feel down right now.
Thanks. I have the added issue of being on 10mg Diazepam daily. I take 5mg at night. I know I’d be better off these but it’s so hard to reduce right now. I have Magnesium citrate tabs but someone else said they weren’t that good if you’re also taking Diazepam. I will look into magnesium L – Threonate also.
Hate when I wake up that feeling of dread, it can take a few hrs and lots of housework to try and rid myself of that rotten feeling
Why Do We Feel This Way
While there arent any rock-solid causes of morning depression, there are a few ideas about why this may happen. Hormonal problems may be the culprit of these issues, as you have two major players in the sleep/wake cycle: melatonin and cortisol.
If these hormones are displaced, say melatonin is more prevalent during the day, you will feel tired and fatigued. Melatonin is created to help you fall asleep, and if its not regulated correctly, your circadian rhythms will be off. This can greatly affect the way you feel the following morning.
Other contributors to feeling depressed in the morning could be substance abuse, medical conditions, trauma or genetic causes. There are many reasons, you see. So its important to understand how to cope with variation in emotions, so we can start off the day in the right way.
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Incidence Of Sleep Symptoms In Depression
Symptoms of disturbed night-time sleep in people with depression have been described extensively in both clinical and epidemiological studies. In clinical samples, difficulty in initiating or maintaining sleep or both have been reported in about three quarters of all depressed patients., In epidemiological samples examining insomnia symptoms and depression, sleep symptoms occurred in 50% to 60% in a sample of young adults aged 21 to 30. In a UK population sample , the incidence of insomnia symptoms in a wide age range of patients with depression increased with age. Overall, 83% of depressed patients had at least one insomnia symptom, compared with 36% who did not have depression. This varied from 77% in the 16-to-24-year age group to 90% in the 55-to-64-year age group. When the authors looked at the value of sleep symptoms as a screening aid for depression, the proportion of participants with depression who reported symptoms of insomnia sufficient to warrant a diagnosis of insomnia was 41%, and the proportion without depression and without a diagnosis was 96%. This supports the statement mentioned above that diagnosing depression without sleep complaints needs care.
Residual Insomnia: Relapse And Recurrence
There is much evidence that effective antidepressant treatments can successfully elicit significant response in depression, but is much less evidence that effective treatment fully addresses the problem of sleep disturbance. Persistent insomnia is one of the most common residual symptoms in patients with incomplete remission: This presents a problem, given the fact that residual insomnia confers greater risk of subsequent depression: in a study of remitted patients maintained on a selective serotonin reuptake inhibotor and psychotherapy, subjective sleep problems and anxiety were each found to be predictors of early recurrence. The origin of these residual symptoms of insomnia is probably multifactorial, reflecting ongoing functional brain abnormalities as well as adverse effects of some drug treatments, for example SSRIs, particularly fluoxetine, can lead to insomnia.
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What Are The Treatments For Depression
Many helpful treatments for depression are available. Treatment for depression can help reduce symptoms and shorten how long the depression lasts. Treatment can include getting therapy and/or taking medications. Your doctor or a qualified mental health professional can help you determine what treatment is best for you.
- Therapy. Many people benefit from psychotherapyalso called therapy or counseling.7,8 Most therapy lasts for a short time and focuses on thoughts feelings and issues that are happening in your life now. In some cases understanding your past can help but finding ways to address what is happening in your life now can help you cope and prepare you for challenges in the future.With therapy, youll work with your therapist to learn skills to help you cope with life, change behaviors that are causing problems and find solutions. Do not feel shy or embarrassed about talking openly and honestly about your feelings and concerns. This is an important part of getting better.Some common goals of therapy include:
- Getting healthier
- Making sense of past painful events
- Identifying things that worsen your depression
- Having better relationships with family and friends
- Understanding why something bothers you and creating a plan to deal with it
Depression And Suicide: Getting Help In A Crisis
Some people who are depressed may think about hurting themselves or committing suicide . If you or someone you know is having thoughts about hurting themselves or committing suicide please seek immediate help. The following resources can help:
- Call to reach a 24hour crisis center or dial 911. is the National Suicide Prevention Lifelineexternal icon, which provides free confidential help to people in crisis. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrationexternal icon runs this lifeline.
- Get help from your primary doctor or other health care provider.
- Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
- Contact a minister, spiritual leader, or someone else in your faith community.
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Get Your Thyroid And Vitamin D Levels Checked
Two major causes of depression can be thyroid hormone levels that are off and low vitamin D.
When your thyroid hormone levels are off, a variety of symptoms can arise. One of them is depression.
Vitamin D deficiency is also one of the major causes of depression. Because of the prevalence of sunscreen use and a significant shortage of sunshine during some parts of the year, many Americans dont get enough sun.
The sun is the only way for a human being to get Vitamin D so sun deficiency means a vitamin D deficiency and vitamin D deficiency leads to depression.
Fortunately, in both cases, testing is easy a simple blood test and the treatment involves taking a pill.
So, if you’re suddenly feeling depressed for no reason, call your primary care doctor and get yourself checked right away.
Take Note Of The View Out Your Window
Believe it or not, the time of year can greatly affect your moods, maybe even contribute to why you wake up feeling depressed for no reason.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a depressive disorder caused by the change of seasons. Some people get depressed because of the reduced daylight hours. Some people because of the temperature changes. Everyone affected by SAD finds themselves feeling depressed without something being wrong.
Fall is a hard time for me because my kids go back to school and the days start getting shorter. If I dont pay attention, I often find myself deeply depressed, even if everything else is great.
How do you deal with SAD? The most effective way is with a full spectrum lamp. The lamp will help your body tolerate the change in seasons by exposing it to full-spectrum light.
Another thing to ask yourself is if something painful happened to you this same time of year in the past. I know that every year in early June, I get very depressed because it’s the anniversary of my mothers death. Sometimes it creeps up on me and I dont even know it.
Anticipating anniversaries that might be fraught with emotion is a good way to keep SAD at bay because you can take steps to deal with what might make you depressed.
I make sure I do something that reminds me of my mom before the anniversary of her death, and it has really helped me manage the pain of the loss so it doesnt bring me down.
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Pilgrimage Of Desire: A Path Out Of Walking Depression
My lifes work is to help writers and artists recognize their depression and find healing by making their creative work a priority.
One of the ways I do that is by sharing my own story of depression and recovery in a memoir called Pilgrimage of Desire. The book is interspersed with coaching questions and exercises, which help readers take their own steps toward happiness.
As a young adult, I longed to make my mark on the world as a writer. But after university, I got sidetracked by all the demands of ordinary life.
Soon I joined the ranks of the walking depressed. I was working, volunteering, and looking after my family, but I was also desperately sad.
I found the path out of depression by following my desiresto write, to travel, to become a mother and a creativity coach. Eventually I left ordinary life behind. My husband quit his job and we sold our house and headed out on a trip around the world with our kids, aged five and three. I thought Id found my happy ending, but there was more to the story
Do these signs ring true for you? Have you ever been depressed and kept on walking?
I invite you to share your own experiences in the comments. When you do, please be kind to yourself and others. Kindness is the watchword. To keep this space safe and helpful, I remove comments that are unkind or invalidate other peoples experience of depression.
UPDATE: A video for those who responded to this article when it was first posted in March 2012.
How Is Depression Diagnosed
Depression can only be diagnosed by a medical professional, so people experiencing symptoms of depression should talk with their doctor, counselor, or psychiatrist. They may ask about the severity of the symptoms and how long theyve persisted. They may also suggest tests that can help them to better understand your situation and monitor changes or improvements over time.
A provider may also refer patients to a specialist in sleep disorders to help determine if there is an underlying sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome, that may be causing depression or contributing to symptoms.
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