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Lack of sleep can not only indicate depression, it can even trigger it. Relaxation and meditation exercises counteract this effectively. They help to "switch off" better mentally and finally come to rest at night.
Approx. four million people in Germany suffer from depression. In addition to typical symptoms such as depression, lack of drive and loss of interest, they often feel inner restlessness as well as massive physical and mental tensions. They cannot switch off and do not come to rest at night. The dilemma: "Poor sleep is often not only a symptom of depression, but often also the trigger," explains Dr. Martina Huck-Breiter, chief physician of the Rhineland-Palatinate Palace Park Clinic Dirmstein. The expert therefore advises: "If the difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep lasts several weeks, a medical explanation of the cause is necessary."
Lack of sleep robs us of "the last nerve"
We spend one third of our life in bed. If we sleep deeply and solidly during the night, we feel rested, fresh and full of energy the next morning. On the other hand, if we wallow for hours without finding sleep, we often struggle through the next day - exhausted, tired and irritated.
Chronic lack of sleep not only robs us of the “last nerve”: If the body and mind can not relax permanently at all, we age faster and fall ill more often. "Continuous breaks are important for our well-being - and also for our recovery in the event of illness," emphasizes Dr. Huck-wide. In her experience, falling asleep and staying asleep are just as typical sleep disorders for depression as waking up early in the morning. "The most common reasons for this are constant brooding and inner tension," says the specialist for psychiatry and psychotherapy. For this reason, relaxation and meditation courses are an integral part of the clinical treatment of depression and other mental illnesses. “Regular times in relaxation mode help body and mind to regenerate. They also enable patients to better deal with stressful situations and stress, ”emphasizes Dr. Progressive muscle relaxation and autogenic training have proven particularly successful.
Time out in relaxation mode
"Yoga is also a good alternative to provide relaxation impulses," says Dr. Huck-Wide from years of experience. Muscles, joints and spine as well as the cardiovascular, nervous, immune, lymphatic and glandular systems are strengthened with the help of predominantly resting body positions, so-called asanas, and simple movements. Physical tensions are released in a gentle way.
For conscious relaxation, experts also recommend archery. "By focusing on one goal, disturbances in the environment are hidden," says the expert. The participants find peace and develop serenity. Inner mindfulness is encouraged, self-confidence is gained and incorrect self-assessments are corrected.
Sometimes listening to relaxation music in the evening is enough to find the necessary rest for a healthy sleep.
Sleep hygiene makes us sleep
Last but not least, good sleep hygiene is an essential factor for restful nights. These include a darkened, quiet room with pleasant 17, at most 18 degrees and a high quality mattress. Experts advise you to largely avoid tea, coffee or alcohol before going to sleep. In addition, the last, lightest meal possible should be taken three or four hours beforehand. "If, despite all the precautionary measures, falling asleep doesn't work, please don't just roll around in bed for hours," advises the specialist. "Get up better, read a good book or listen to relaxing music - and only lie down again when you are noticeably tired."
So you come to rest
Expert tips for restful nights without stress:
Only children need 12 hours of sleep or more. Seven, eight hours are enough for adults, some only five or six. The decisive factor is the individual's need for sleep.
There is no scientific evidence that warm milk with honey makes it easier to fall asleep. It has been proven that cherries can be helpful due to the sleep hormone melatonin they contain.
Brooders find it difficult to rest. If relaxation is not successful, monotonous activities like “counting sheep” can help, as they distract from stressful thoughts.
Fixed habits are recommended, such as taking an evening stroll or reading before going to sleep.
It is important to have a constant sleep pattern: if possible always go to bed at the same time and get up again.
Sleeping pills should only be taken in exceptional situations. As studies show, sleep is otherwise no longer possible without medication.
Instead of sleeping pills, natural remedies such as valerian, lavender oil or lemon balm also often work. The pharmacist will help you well here. Dr. Martina Huck-Breiter is a specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy and chief physician at the Schlossparkklinik Dirmstein, which specializes in burnout and depression.