Ease Depression With Sunny New Sleep Routines
By Sandy Schroeder
Sleep can be tricky. To rest well and feel great every day the timing and amounts of sleep that we get are crucial.
How to Make It Better
University of Colorado Boulder researchers studied the genetic data of over 800,000 adults and found waking up an hour earlier could cut the risk of depression by 23 percent.
They found getting up and going to bed early can lower the risk of a major depressive disorder. Wherever you are with worry, sadness or depression, it's important to know how sleep and depression are linked. Ongoing research tells us most people need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night and getting more than nine hours can increase our risk for depression.
Now this new research tells us more exposure to light during the day can create hormonal impacts that will boost our mood. In my opinion this suggests we should look for more ways to be up early and outside whenever we can.
Improving on a Good Thing
If you already have a sleep routine that works or are still looking, it might be worthwhile to build on this new research to be up earlier, get outside, and absorb more sunshine whenever you can. Here are some ideas.
Live Outside More
- Drink your breakfast coffee out on the patio
- Go to bed a few minutes earlier each evening
- Establish a quiet time in the evening to wind down and rest well
- Get up an hour earlier to walk or run each morning
- Whenever possible eat lunch outside at work or with friends
- Do a half hour of yoga or stretching outside after lunch
- Break up the afternoon with a short walk
Find New Ways to Be Outside
- Start the evening with a walk to the park or a walk with your dog
- Use weekends to bike, hike or camp
- Look for new sports for yourself and your family
- Spend the summer on your patio with suppers for friends and family
- Enjoy home cooking and family meals as much as possible
Upgrade Your Sleep Routine
- Make your bedroom a sleep retreat and use an air filter to screen out noise
- Avoid spicy foods, alcohol and electronics at least two hours before bedtime
- Create a bedtime ritual with warm baths, soft music and simple snacks
Putting all of this together may improve your sleep and your mood. If it does, keep looking for more ways to add to a winning mix.
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