ASK AN EXPERT: SLEEP
Our research expert, Dr. Fidel Vila-Rodriguez, shares why you may want to add some tips and tricks to improve the quality of your sleep if you struggle with a mood disorder.
Sleep is one of the fundamental building blocks for health, especially mental health. There’s a reason sleep deprivation can be considered torture under the Geneva Convention!
Many people with a mood disorder struggle with sleep – whether it is trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, or sleeping too much. The change of the seasons (and the clocks) can also cause sleep disturbances.
There are some simple things you can try to improve your sleep:
- Commit to a set bedtime and wake time each day and stay consistent (“catching up” on sleep on the weekends doesn’t work).
- Turn off electronics (televisions, cellphones, iPads) and lower light levels in your environment an hour before bed.
- Avoid caffeine in coffee, black / green teas, soft drinks, and energy drinks generally (especially after 2 pm).
- Consider using a high energy “SAD” light for 30 minutes each morning September through May.
- Consider developing a daily practice of mindfulness meditation to practice quiet and staying present in the moment.
- Consider adding some gentle exercise (yoga, walking) to your day on a consistent basis.
And with help from your doctor, consider being screened for sleep apnea if you snore or always wake up tired. Equally, ask your doctor if a trial of 5 mg of timed-release melatonin at bedtime for a few weeks is something s/he would recommend. Magnesium supplements are also known to help with sleep but they will counteract some rTMS protocols. If you do change your medications, including vitamins, please let the Clinic staff know at your next appointment.