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Better sleep for a better mind: Treating depression with sleep

Depression is common among workers who have suffered on-the-job injuries or illnesses -- and standard treatments often fail to completely resolve the problem. Doctors aren't always even in agreement about the best ways to try to treat a stubborn depression.

One thing that doctors know for certain, however, is that poor quality sleep makes it harder to get depression under control. It can even make symptoms worse. Even if you seem to be sleeping all the time, waking up just as tired as you were before you went to bed is a clue that your body and mind aren't really getting the rest that you need.

What can you do to make a good night's sleep a little easier to find? Follow these tips.

1. Give your bedroom a makeover

You may need to change a few things in your bedroom to make sleep a little easier. Consider these ideas:

  • Add blackout curtains to darken the room
  • Add a fan or white noise machine to reduce interruptions
  • Replace your old mattress if it seems worn out
  • Remove electronics (including your television)

All of these things helps your subconscious connect your bedroom with peacefulness and sleep -- not disruptions. Removing the electronics is very important. They emit a blue light that actually inhibits the production of melatonin, which is your body's natural method of coaxing your brain to sleep.

2. Develop a routine

You may not have had a bedtime routine since you were a kid -- but there's no time like the present to start again!

Routines help your subconscious clear out extra thoughts and your mind to start slowing down. Otherwise, racing thoughts and a flood of worries can come crashing in just as you lay down -- making sleep next to impossible.

Set yourself a regular bedtime and force yourself to go through the motions until it becomes a habit. Consider ending the night with a quick walk around the house, checking the windows and doors. Then finish off with a cup of herbal tea (without caffeine) to put you in a relaxed frame of mind before bed.

It's important to discuss your sleep difficulties and depression when you're suffering from a workplace illness with your doctor. Not only should they be documented as evidence of how the illness is affecting all aspects of your life, your doctor may have additional suggestions that can help.

Source: nami.org, "5 Sleep Tips That Can Help With Depression," Sarah Cummings, accessed June 14, 2018

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