Nightmares, Insomnia & Depression – Oh My!

How the three are intertwined

Sleep plays an important role in a person’s health and mood regulation. When a person suffers from nightmares, it not only affects their sleeping life but their waking life as well. According to Mayo Clinic, a nightmare is a disturbing dream associated with negative feelings, such as anxiety or fear. Nightmares can cause anxiety about returning to sleep, which can spiral into a debilitating cycle. Nightmares can cause a lack of sleep, which in turn can cause a variety of issues including insomnia and depression. The same is also true reverse – insomnia and depression can cause nightmares. The three are often intertwined.

Nightmares and depression

During the 1970s, psychologists noted that people suffering from depression also reported more dreams than average. In fact, people who are clinically depressed may dream three or four times as much. The quality of REM sleep dreams is different too – more intense emotions, more negative themes, more nightmares, and more unpleasant dreams. In general. REM sleep is the time when your brain is most active during sleep, which is when your brain actively works to heal and replenish itself. These unpleasant dreams are often mixed with insomnia, leaving someone tired. Read more at DreamStudies.org

Nightmares & insomnia and their effect on depression

Researchers at Tokyo Medical University in Japan investigated the influence of nightmares on depression, both independently and in conjunction with insomnia. They found nightmares can aggravate the symptoms of depression. They also learned that the joint presence of insomnia with nightmares had a significant effect on the severity of depression. Read more at PsychologyToday.com

 

As researchers work toward better understanding the links between insomnia and depression, it’s clear that a deeper understanding of sleep and its effect on mood regulation and mood disorder is needed as well.

 

If you suffer from insomnia and/or nightmares, there is no one simple solution – as you well know. But there are changes you can make. Try these tips to help you sleep better and wake up better rested:

·       Set an alarm for bed – Set an alarm as a reminder to start your nightly routine to help your body prepare for sleep. Going to bed at the same time each night trains your brain and body when to anticipate sleep, which will help you relax.

·       No nightcaps – Alcohol and sleep do not mix well. If you’re already having a hard time sleeping, a nightcap won’t help as alcohol can effect a person’s REM sleep cycle.

·       Stretch it out – Yoga is a great way to unwind and decompress at the end of the day. There are several simple positions you can do to help you relax before bed.

·       Caffeine – Just say no to that afternoon cup of coffee. It can feel like a great pick-me-up when that sluggish afternoon feeling hits, but that buzz lasts longer than you think and makes it harder for you to fall asleep.

·       Don’t lie in bed – If you can’t sleep, do something. Read a book. Write in a journal. Make a to-do list for the next day. Listen to soothing music.

 

If you are suffering from chronic nightmares or insomnia or symptoms of depression, know that you are not alone and a doctor can help. If you’re ready to find a sleep doctor, check out this list of sleep specialists for help in your area.

 

Eager for more sleep info you can really use? Join our communities on Facebook and let’s continue the conversation. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

 

This blog was originally published on Restonic.com and does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on Restonic.com. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

Better Sleep

yoga

Top 10 Yoga Asanas for Health Sleep Prescription-free, happy sleep fixesTroubled by disrupted, erratic sleeping patterns? Restless during the night? Relax, you may not be suffering from full-fledged insomnia. Minor sleep troubles are common and the fix may be easier than you imagine. While sleep-inducing medications are always an option, many have negative effects in the long run. Instead, try some of these easy-to-do yoga poses for healthy sleep with only healthy side effects.

Pigeon pose

Get down on all your fours and place your right knee right behind your right wrist. Angle your right foot towards the left. Stretch your left leg back and place a pillow on the left of your right leg in front of you. Now lay your belly and chest on the pillow and relax your arms on either side. Breathe deeply for a few seconds and switch legs.

Supported inversion

Lie on your back perpendicular to a wall with your feet resting on the wall and your hips as close as possible to the edge of the floor. Slowly stretch your legs along the wall and slide your hips towards the wall until your entire legs are in contact with the wall. Closing your eyes, take deep breaths.

Reclined butterfly

Place a pillow and lie on your back on top of it. Bring together your soles and let your knees gently fall to the side. Stretch your arms away from the body with the palms open and facing the ceiling. Your hips should be off the pillow; support only your spine on it.

Recline big toe hold

Lie on your back and grab your leg (any part that you can comfortably reach – knee, ankle or big toe if you can) and extend it towards the ceiling. Breathing deeply, slowly bring the leg as close as you can.

Reclined spinal twist

Lie on your back and tuck your right knee above your chest and then cross it on the left side of your body. This twisting stretch relaxes the spine. Stretch your arms on either side and hold the position for 3 breaths, and then switch to the left knee in the same way.

Cobra pose

Lie on your stomach and lift your face and chest while resting on your palms. Your elbows should be close to your body, just beside your ribs. Inhale as you rise, lifting as much of your body above the navel as you can.

Seated heart opener

Kneel on the floor and put your palms on the floor behind you, fingers splayed away from your body. Inhale and stretch your spine. Arch your back, lower your head back and lean backwards during exhaling.

Plow pose

This is a more challenging pose. Lie on your back and tightening your abdominal muscles, lift your legs above you. Slowly bring your legs down above you until your toes reach the floor above your head. Clasp your hands under your back. You can also do this without your toes reaching the floor. Both your legs and arms should be straight and not bent at the knee of the elbow.

Crossed leg bend

Sit in the Padmasana pose or the lotus position and gently roll forward on your hips. Reach forward with your hands straight out in front of you on the yoga mat and your head tucked down between the shoulders. Hold this pose for a few deep breaths.

Meditation

A short spell of meditation is great for bringing your mind and body at peace, and ready for sleep. Sit on your bed in a cross legged position, close your eyes and breathe deeply for a few minutes.

 

The next time you toss and turn in bed, take a few minutes off the struggle and try these yoga postures. You will be surprised to see how easily you drift into sleep. Practicing these yoga postures will keep your mind at peace and allow you to slip into deep slumber without much trouble.

 

If you’re ready for a new mattress, we’d love to help you find the right one for you. Visit Murphy’s Furniture where you can lie on our mattresses and talk to a trained sales professional.

Eager for more sleep info you can really use? Join our communities on Facebook  and let’s continue the conversation. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

 

This blog was originally published on Restonic.com and does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on Restonic.com. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.