Sleeping is a great tool for healing a lot of mental illness particularly after a bad breakdown. When your mind is full of too many thoughts, particularly of a negative variety, sleeping can really help.
Ensuring you get a good night’s sleep each evening is vitally important for the way you feel when you wake up. In this blog post we discuss sleeping and why it is so important for a balanced mind and to help you on your journey through depression or anxiety.
Why is sleep so important when depressed?
Sleep is vital to any person who wants to maintain excellent mental health. Without adequate sleep the brain will not be able to make sense of all your thoughts and become overwhelmed. When depressed it is quite common to over think but only in a negative way. You get in a negative spiral and it is difficult to alleviate the feelings and thoughts you are constantly having in your mind. Having all these thoughts is incredibly exhausting and takes a lot of energy to process and so many depressed people will feel an urge to sleep and they shouldn’t ignore it.
Sleep is vital to give the cerebral cortex (the brain’s “thinking” part) a rest. The brain’s plasticity, which helps us learn and process, is maintained by sleep. A lack of sleep makes us feel we are working on autopilot. We feel irritable, less flexible in our thinking and less able to cope with the unexpected.
Reasons why sleep was part of my recovery plan
1. Exhausting to sort your thoughts out
When you are initially in your deep state of depression and your thoughts are overwhelming your mind , your eyes become drowsy and your appetite becomes lower. This in turn gives you less energy to do so.
When Seek A Therapy founder was first recovering from severe depression most of my first month was spent sleeping, laying on the sofa for the majority of the day. He was constantly exhausted but it is what the brain needed to recover. If your brain needs it, don’t fight it! Rest your mind, you can make a start on your goals when you have more energy.
Sleep was part of Seek A Therapy founders recovery plan because it allowed him to gain more energy.
2. Irritability is high
A common thing that happens when someone has depression they tend to see the worst in all situations. Depressed people tend to see what it wrong with the world rather than what is good. For the founder of Seek A Therapy he used to read the news A LOT when he had first entered into deep depression and would watch the stock markets because he saw them as the reason for his ultimate collapse. If he saw anything unjust, particularly surrounding the economy then he would become extremely irritable but as he slept more and focused his energy on other things it helped to cool his temper and become at peace again.
Sleep was part of Seek A Therapy founder’s recovery plan because it allowed him to cool his temper.
3. The importance of sleeping, it allows you to process your thoughts
Sleeping allows your brain to process information and consolidate memories . This allows you to do all the rewiring and rethinking that you need to do in order to see where things went wrong. It allows you to take a break from the difficulties you have just had to go through. This then can help you understand why you may have become so depressed and begin to get the therapy you need.
Good sleep allows you to process your thoughts and make sense of how you are feeling.
4. The importance of sleeping, gives you energy to learn new skills and find a new path
Energy is low when you have depression. Sleeping gives you energy to take action. Write down your goals when you wake up (see blog post here about the importance of goal setting)and then, make your goals a reality.
For example, the founder knew he had put on a lot of weight when he eventually had his break down. One goal was to loose weight and another was to learn Spanish (babbel.com). He knew this would open up job opportunities to emigrate from the UK and live and work in North or South America. Something he never did but did lead to him finding his life path and purpose again!
Sleeping well allows you to have energy and some drive to learn new skills. In turn become more employable and more knowledgeable for the future.
The importance of sleeping when healing from depression is important
Sleeping heals the body. How many times has your loved one said to you when you had the flu go to bed and sleep it off. This is the power of our bodies to heal itself. Sleep is so vitally important in the early stages of depression.
This information has come from personal experience. I would always recommend seeking a GP to talk about any issues raised here but for the founder of Seek A Therapy sleep may have been the best medication he could have ever taken.
To learn more about why we sleep and what happens when we sleep then watch this 8 minute informative video.