Feeling depressed at night can be a terrible feeling.
It can impact your sleep, health and overall wellbeing.
When I was depressed my depression was always worse at night.
I would lay there and get stuck in a negative thought pattern that would go on for hours and make my depression even worse.
There were times when I could barely sleep at all because my depression was so bad at night.
Here are some of the things I did to manage my depression at night.
I hope some of these tips help you and you’re able to find some relief soon.
Symptoms of Depression
If you believe you have depression I urge you to talk to a professional.
I didn’t get treatment for my own depression for over ten years and I will never be able to get those years back.
Don’t waste time suffering, talk to your Doctor or a Therapist to get the proper treatment you need.
Depression looks different for everyone but here are some of the common symptoms according to Web MD.
- Trouble concentrating
- Loss of interest in activities
- Change in appetite
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Feeling hopeless
- Aches and pains
- Low energy
- Feeling worthless or guilty
What Causes Depression At Night?
There are many different factors that could be causing you to be depressed at night.
A lot of times when we try to go to sleep our thoughts will take over.
There isn’t any activities or work to distract yourself with when you’re trying to sleep and any negative thought patterns you have can come to the surface.
My mind tends to worry about the future at night or play out old painful experiences I had in the past.
This tendency can make my depression feel worse at night than during the day because I am focusing on things that make my depression worse.
Some studies have also shown a link between exposure to light at night and depression.
Bright street lights, alarm clocks or other light sources in your bedroom could be making your depression worse.
Another factor that could be coming into play is your circadian rhythm.
When you don’t have a regular sleep schedule you may be more susceptible to depression.
Tips for Coping With Depression At Night
- Identify triggers. What thoughts or feelings are coming up for you at night that are triggering your depression. Is there a certain topic you think about more at night when you’re trying to sleep? I used to struggle with being lonely at night and that was one of my biggest triggers for depression at night. I would get into bed and think about how lonely I was and it would really bring me down.
- Make a plan. Once you know what is triggering your depression at night you can make a plan to cope with it. When I started thinking about how lonely I was I would redirect my thoughts and go on a gratitude rampage instead. What could you do to prevent or manage the thoughts that are triggering you? Remember, you are in charge of your thoughts. The more you practice controlling them the easier it will be to be intentional about your thought process.
- Choose new beliefs. Learning how to control your thoughts is so powerful because your thoughts create your beliefs. If you can control your thoughts you can shape new positive beliefs for yourself. What core beliefs could you develop that would help you feel better about yourself and your life? Some of mine are that everything works out for my highest good, I am the luckiest girl in the world and what is for me will not pass me. These beliefs give me comfort in tough times but they also help me feel optimistic about my life overall.
- Leave your phone in the other room. Looking at your phone throughout the night can make it difficult to fall back asleep. The light from your phone signals to your brain that it’s time to wake up and can make it difficult to fall back asleep. Mel Robbins has a great video about this you can check out below.
- Stop looking at screens two hours before you try to sleep. I recently started reading books in bed instead of looking at my phone and it’s really helped me sleep better. It lets my body start to slow down and unwind and I don’t have all the distractions that are on my phone.
- Do a stress relieving activity before bed. Do something that will help you sleep at night like a stretching routine, yoga, taking a bath or writing in your journal. Find an activity you can add to your nighttime routine to help you wind down and relax.
- Change your diet. Eliminating sugar and caffeine can help you wind down at night and get better sleep. Studies have shown drinking coffee even six hours before bed can have a significant impact on sleep. Alcohol has also been linked to poor sleeping habits.
- Avoid bright screens. Try not to look at any bright screens for at least two hours before bed, and dim the lights as much as possible. I try to leave my phone and laptop out of my bedroom at night. I use the Twilight app for a couple of hours before I go to bed. The app puts a red filter on my phone screen at night. The light from your cell phone can signal to your brain that it’s time to be awake but when you use a red filter it can minimize the effects
- Meditate. I’ve been using the headspace app to learn how to meditate. It has really helped me learn to control my thoughts in a non-judgemental way and I’ve been able to find a lot of clarity in my meditation practice. They have a whole series of meditations that are meant to help you sleep.
- Practice gratitude. I feel like every self-help person on planet earth is going on and on about gratitude lists now. There is a good reason though, they freaking work. When you get in bed at night focus on the things in your environment that you are thankful for. Notice how soft your pillow is and think about how thankful you are to have a bed. When I direct my thoughts towards gratitude it is a lot easier not to trigger my depression.
If you’ve been wondering “why do I get depressed at night?” I hope this article helps you.
I know that coping with depression can be really difficult and I have other blog posts about it that you can check out here.
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