Are you struggling with depression and wondering how to stop feeling depressed at night?
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 our depression seem more profound. How exciting is it that daylight savings time is here and the nights are getting shorter!
I have lived with depression for years and have some tips to share with you today that will definitely help you manage your nighttime depression.
For me, there are two separate times of the night that need to be managed: the evening hours before bed and then the time during the night when I wake up. I have tips for both times of the night because they are a little bit different to deal with, I believe.
What to do in the evening, before bed:
#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.
I would definite encourage you to stay off social media if you are feeling depressed. 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 stop feeling depressed 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. You can 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.
What to do if you wake up in the middle of the night:
#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. They say that reading for 20 minutes if you wake up increases your chances of falling back asleep than if you just lie there working yourself up, thinking about things.
So, keep some reading material next to your bed so if you 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 will help you manage your depression.
#2 – Use a calming app.
There are lots 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. Do some looking and see what works for you.
#3 – Know that the morning will come.
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.
Good for you for getting ahead of your depression and trying to figure out how to stop feeling depressed at night.
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 struggling with depression and these tips don’t help, I would definitely encourage you to 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!
Are you struggling with night time depression?
I know it can be really, really hard. Let me help before the pain gets to be too much!
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I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.