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April 30, 2019

I’m Trying to Cure My Depression and Anxiety With Sleep Hacks.

Since around the age of 12, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety that has made me miss social and career opportunities. I’ve been through the same old limbo of anti-depressants, holistic medicine, and meditation. Very little has made much of an effect on my long-term mental health.

I read an article about how mental illness was linked to poor sleep habits, which certainly applied to me. While such articles tend to be sensational click bait, it inspired me to try yet one more thing to see if I can cure myself.

Tweaking My Bedroom For Instant Sleep

When I get depressed, my life becomes chaotic and the state of my bedroom definitely reflects this. Bedrooms should become void of smells, messes, sounds, and light. This is why I’m trying to make an effort in keeping the room clean, having the blinds drawn and having all lights or electronics turned off. This puts me into a state of Zen, and if I’m sleepy enough, I go to sleep within minutes.

Upgrading to Weighted Blankets

I recall reading an article from Healthline stating that sleeping with weighted blankets can help with chronic anxiety. The logic behind this is that the subtle weight of the blanket will bear down on the body and give the user a grounding effect, which supposedly has a calming effect.

While I’m not exactly sold on the idea of grounding (in which my old holistic coach taught me about), I can understand why a heavy blanket would be comforting. I have yet to try this but I’m probably going to get a couple to try out considering it isn’t too expensive.

Sticking to an Early Schedule

This is common sense for most people but I have trouble sticking to a schedule due to being self-employed. I sometimes have texts, emails and phone calls coming in the middle of the night that is hard to ignore. This has to lead me to push my bedtime further towards the morning, making me more or less a hermit.

What I’m now doing is having my girlfriend confiscate my electronics and putting me to bed with an alarm clock from the 1990s. It may seem humiliating but I’m already noticing a slight change in mood when I’m going to bed on time and waking up at the exact planned hour.

Taking Supplements

While I’ve tried lots of supplements during my being treated by naturopath gurus, there are only a couple that I’m really sold on for sleep. Those two supplements are Melatonin and magnesium.

Melatonin is touted by some as being a natural sleeping pill and it’s actually considered to be a hormone rather than a vitamin. Since our bodies release melatonin to regulate one’s sleep schedule, the logic is to take it around bedtime to make that response stronger.

While not necessarily being as strong as pure melatonin or something from the doctor, supplementing with magnesium has a calming effect. It is also indirectly related to melatonin production, so it may be a lighter option for those that don’t like the idea of taking a hormone pill. I bought a bulk bag of magnesium powder and I take a little over the RDA so that I get enough for my bodyweight.

Final Thoughts

I think I’m already noticing a change in mood, although I haven’t fully integrated the list above into my life. If I make a breakthrough and no longer have anxiety attacks or bouts of depression, I will write an updated report here on EJ. I will also consider other wacky ideas like red lights or sleeping on the floor (seriously).

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