Depression: could it be caused or perpetuated by your sleep habits?

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Summary: when you declare that the state that you are in is depression, a loss of aliveness, a loss of piss and vinegar, then you suddenly have access to a power that you didn't when you were just experiencing the exact same symptoms, without a label. This article is about what to do after the declaration

  • When life loses its taste
  • When sleeping tastes better than life
  • When you are not starting a project or stopping one you are in the middle of because you can't see your way through it or because you don't see that it can win
  • When you'd rather do menial stuff or watch movies
  • When you are obsessed with your sleep

Then you are, most likely, depressed.

Depression can be so low grade that most people would say it's normal. Like with everything, you need a control, something to compare yourself with.

Search your memory for times when, for whatever reason, you bounded out of bed, you laughed for no reason, you experienced energy. Then the reason went away, it always does. Maybe you won some money. Maybe you got a promotion, fell in love, or lost some weight. The reason doesn't matter. Consider that state your control. Being happy for no reason or for any reason is the normal state of a human being.

Hinging your life on an outside cause is silly, yet we all do it. We are wired to do it.

What gives you your beingness (happy, sad, impatient, worried) in the present is the future you live into.

The future is the context of the moment, and it is either something good, desirable, or not. The worst is when you can't see a future, or the future is stagnation or even deterioration.

When you feel that there is nothing to look forward to... then it's depression.

So, how do you claim back your life from the hopelessness, senselessness, of this condition. How do you put excitement, enthusiasm, pep back? How do you get your groove back?

What is depression, really? An Empath's take on depression

imbalance2

imbalanceI woke up this morning and finally, after quite a few weeks of doing almost no work, I realized that I am depressed.

I could lie to you that I caused it intentionally, volitionally, consciously, but I would be lying to you.

But how did it happen? How can a person with my level of vibration get depressed? Excellent question, but slightly irrelevant.

My hunch is that my inner guidance system, the Spirit, took me there. I saw that most of my readers, most of my students are depressed, and I needed to deal with it myself, to be able to teach you something authentically, like the guru who had to stop eating sugar before he had the right to tell the little boy to stop eating sugar. (if you don't know the story, look it up on google)

How I realized that you are depressed was like this: one of my coaching students was complaining about lack of time to get things done. In the conversation we dug deeper, and I boiled it down to a sleep schedule issue, and then I had the insight: all pointed to a type of depression.

For many years I was known as an lay expert in bipolar treatment.

My mom had bipolar, and I suspect that I have bipolar. For many years I was known for many as someone who can turn people with bipolar around when they are depressed by managing their sleep.

Normal depression is bad, but bipolar depression is horrible.

Bipolar means that you oscillate between manic states, high on your own hormones (neurotransmitters), or depressed, crashing with the loss of feel-good hormones.

Bipolar (probably always) starts with something external, drug, illness, or an event. Then a period of crashing happens, sadness, hiding, shame, whatever is the result of the event. Or often a period of mania... But what goes up must come down!

The "down event" causes the sleeping, a way of hiding from life. A way of hiding from the feelings. The "up" event is often a project, a test, a new love that keeps you up and awake: you notice that you sleep less... sometimes you are forced to sleep less.

What goes up must come down!

Unfortunately sleeping or the lack of it starts to modify your hormone balance, Serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and acetylcholine. These four and their quantitative relationship will decide to what degree you enjoy life, have a spring in your step, a spark in your eyes, and a healthy curiosity in your brain.

Sleep changes mess with the balance of Serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and acetylcholine

It starts with taking naps, or going to sleep early, for whatever reason. You may have jet lag. You may have a fever. You may feel sad. Either way, you do something out of the "normal" by going to bed early.

If you have a stable hormone profile, then one faux pas, one erroneous step won't start to mess with your hormones, but most people's hormone profile is unstable due to many factors, including our unnatural life style, food additives, drugs, lack of light, too much coffee or tea, multitasking, excitement seeking behavior, trying to be nice to please others, etc. etc. etc.

What was first, the chicken or the egg? The mood or the sleeping disorder?

Moods are highly changeable, but sleeping disorders need conscious management.

Regardless what started the avalanche-like process, we'll consider managing the elements that we can manage, instead of what the pharmaceutical industry manages, for their profit: the mood, the chemistry.

We'll manage the sleep cycle, the body temperature cycle, sleep hormone cycle, with setting boundaries on sleep times, sleep location, sleep duration. We'll look at your food intake, your drug intake, your alcohol intake, your exposure to natural high intensity light, and exercise.

It is a simple process, but I would not call it easy. You will need will power. Partial compliance may not do anything to change your current state. The results will only show over time, and and some of the changes may be unpleasant to get used to.

  • Step 1. Set a wakeup time, that you are able to keep seven days a week. For example, I need to get up at 7:30 on Tuesdays. I have set my alarm clock for 7:30, and placed it in the bathroom, so I have to get out of bed to turn it off.
  • Step 2. Decide how you are going to get your light exposure and when. If you have a difficult time falling asleep, try to get your light exposure early in the day. If you have a difficulty staying asleep, or going back to sleep after a few hours of sleep: get your light exposure at the end of the day.

    Get a light board, spend time outside, or move your desk in front of a bright window.

  • Step 3: Decide when you can exercise. To restore a natural body temperature graph, you need to do exercising to raise your core body temperature at least once a day. Don't overdo it. You don't need to go to the gym, any exercise that makes you warm will do. I walk briskly up and down the hill, or do my body flex routine... 15-20 minutes.
  • Step 4: I haven't been napping, but if you have: stop napping... or if you must, make your nap shorter than 20 minutes. Set an alarm!
  • Step 5: Remove TV from your bedroom. Make sure you don't sit so comfortably when you watch TV, so you can fall asleep. Use a straight back chair. Do not fall asleep other than when you meant to, when it's time.

    This last step is the hardest for most people: you are undisciplined, and it is getting worse. You need to force yourself to make your body obey the decisions you made when your head was clear.

    If you don't keep the last step, the whole plan won't work, guaranteed.

I have the Mechanics of Sleep book almost finished, and for a limited time you can have it for $7. https://www.yourvibration.com/sleep

Author: Sophie Benshitta Maven

award winning architect, magazine publisher, transformational and spiritual coach and teacher, self declared Avatar

4 thoughts on “Depression: could it be caused or perpetuated by your sleep habits?”

  1. Sophie, I did experiment with going to bed early and waking up early. I just woke up as a zombie, even after 8 hours of sleep. I am naturally more of a night person, it seems. I am managing my depression by having a busy schedule: there is too much going on for me to indulge in over-sleeping which might lead to depression.

    For right now, I still have the same time-management complaint. It’s on my list of things to observe for the Observation exercise. Well, it’s a small relief to not have to try to fix it. Just observe it for a while.

    Another complaint: Not having a passionate purpose that passively pulls me. Let’s observe that, too. (I will say that the more time and energy I put into practicing my guitar, the more rewarding the experience is.)

  2. And you have to share this with me because… ???? Does it help you that you told me? Does it help me that you told me?

    Observe whatever you observe instead of barfing every time you think someone is listening…

    Or you thought it a useful contribution? You puzzle me, John.

  3. Yes, Sophie, it helps. It was helpful to read your compassionate words, and helpful to put my thoughts down and share them with another person. Can I do it all for myself, and by myself? Maybe. I’m asocial enough as it is. A conversation for making a difference still matters to me. Yes, I was mostly updating you. Perhaps this is a privilege to be saved for the coaching calls, okay.

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