Depression & Early Waking

Good Morning :) I'm suffering from depression which has recently got a lot worse. The Sleepio programme has been a great help but recently as a consequence i'm waking an hour and a half before i need to – has anyone any advice on how to deal with this?

Many Thanks!

Medsy

Posted 6 Aug 2012 at 3:46 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 2

    wow, its sounds like your doing really well!! well done ;) keep up the good work

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I started the sleepio course about 5 weeks ago and have just hit 90% efficiency so am feeling rather pleased about that. I have suffered from depression on and off for years (not currently on medication), along with poor sleep which used to be just waking up very early but more recently has included waking up in the middle of the night. This is one of the reasons I started sleepio. I am more prone to depression in Jan/Feb, ie now, and decided to have a go at it at the same time as starting quite an intensive exercise routine to fix a bad back.

    I found the really difficult bit of the course to be the sleep restriction as I felt very tired during the day, avoiding more demanding bits of work. I really struggled to get out of bed at 4am, not really believing that I would get any more sleep that night. But I feel I've turned the corner now, and am looking forward to having more energy with spring arriving.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Yes that is the bit we all struggle with Phillip SR it seems counterproductive but in reality it is the part of the programme that really gets us back to normal sleeping regime again, also pessimistic or self blaming thoughts are common in depression and can trigger low moods, and low moods can lead to negative thinking which can in fact lead to insomnia, some in the medical profession think of it as the chicken or the egg, did depression cause insomnia or did insomnia cause depression.

    There is a good book called Mindfulness by Mark Williams it is described as a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world. It is based on Mindfulness based cognitive therapy MBCT and is said to be as effective as drugs for treating depression, it comes with a CD of mindfulness relaxation meditations.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Phillip, that sounds really, really good. I know depression. There is good spirit and positivity in what you are saying and that is key to more improvement.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I have a history of depression and early waking -- I hadn't realised they were linked, so that's really interesting to learn (thanks!).

    I'm struggling with week 3 at the moment. I was just posting in the Session 3: General Discussion forum but I don't know if it's the right place. Anyway, sleep restriction shouldn't be super-tough for me since I was sleeping surprisingly well the first couple of weeks, so my window is 7.5 hours, but the quarter hour rule is killing me! I have a very active mind at the best of times, and once I wake in the night (which I tend to do at least once on most nights -- I'm also diabetic so dodgy bloody sugars can come into play) I find myself worrying about the quarter hour rule and thinking, what if I don't drop back off and have to get up? And then before I know it, I've woken up once at 4 or 5am and totally fail to go back to sleep.

    My sleep quality has dived since I started week 3 :(

    Does anyone have any tips?

    Thank you in advance.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hi CJH, I don't know anything about the depression side of things but I am an early waker. I decided early on that the best tactic for me is to stay awake if I wake anytime from about 4.45 onwards. This forced my body to improve SE but meant keeping my window short for a long time. I was sleeping an average of about 5 hrs for months after graduating and was beginning to think it would never get any better…..but it did – very gradually, after about 9 months it began to extend and now my weekly average fluctuates between 6 and 6 and a half hours a night. This is plenty for me and SE is usually good. Hope that is some help.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Thank you for your words, nightjar -- that's helpful (and encouraging) to know!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 5

    I do too and understand ur feelings .. but makes me feel … I am not alone.. and I can work through sleepio with hope

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi CJH,

    sorry to hear that you're struggling. Concur with Nightjar about getting up at 4 or 5 if you wake up. That takes a lot of pressure off. I was lucky as my night time wakening were generally in the middle of the night, between 2-5, so would usually get back to sleep then.

    Re your anxiety about QHR – Sleepio will also give you some tools and tips to deal with the anxiety.

    If it's any help or encouragement, my sleep efficiency is now 93% having been on the programme since last November! Sleepio has really worked for me. I'm staying here for the time being as my sleep generally gets worse in winter, so I want to wait and see what happens.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 3

    I'm also struggling with the issue of depression and early-morning wakening. Just started Remeron (mirtazepine) a week ago. It's not particularly sedating for me, but perhaps when the antidepressant effect kicks in, that will in turn help sleep. Recently found a fascinating article about the relation between depression and insomnia. Not sure if I'm allowed to link it here. Basically, it says that early-morning wakening may be the body's way of trying to deal with depression -- by depriving the mind of REM sleep. Sleep deprivation, in the short term, can actually have an anti-depressant effect (like when you are “punch-drunk” after an all-nighter), but in the long term, sleeplessness can contribute to depression. It's a chicken and egg thing -- what comes first, the insomnia or the depression?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Mrs. DM, plesae could you post the link to the article you mention or the publication it is from? It sounds very interesting and relevant, as my main issue is very early waking
    (btw, it isn't against posting policy to include links for non-commercial purposes, I read in the Terms part of this site).

    I used to think that I'd had never struggled from depression until my insomnia hit over a year ago, but now I wonder if I wasn't already depressed and that this was a cause of my insomnia.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 3

    Hi Samjna. Here is the link to the journal article on Depression and Insomnia: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200307/bedfellows-insomnia-and-depression
    I only saw your post because I checked back on this comment thread. Feel free to post on my profile to get my attention sooner!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I am struggling with sleep restriction and have decided to stop doing this as it has plummeted me into depression. My friends and family have also told me to stop the sleepio program as they have witnessed a huge difference in my behaviour. I can only manage around 3 nights on restricted sleep then I become so low that I barely function. My ability to make any decisions becomes very impaired and creates anxiety.

    I really don't want to go on medication as this really frightens me. I wake up between 5-5:30 am regularly even when on restricted sleep.

    I am using self-soothing techniques now when I wake up and this is helping me. I'm hoping that my sleep-bed-self soothing relationship may help me to settle into a better sleeping habit.

    Any help or advice would be very welcome.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I completed the six week course but never managed better than around 70% sleep efficiency. At the age of 65 I have tended to wake after about 3-4 hours regardless of whatever time I have gone to sleep for at least the last 40 years. Having to get up at 5 or 6 in the morning for work always masked the problem but I have been retired three years now and the problem persists. I know from experience that once awake I can't go back to sleep. Occasionally I find myself nodding off in the afternoon or early evening but always resist for fear of having an even worse night as a result. Have tried Melatonin/Valerian with absolutely no benefit at all. Am I suffering from depression? I don't think so and I seem to have plenty of energy during the day and take daily excercise. It hasn't caused me to overeat and become obese as some warn, so do I have a problem at all? Interestingly my father had the exact same problem for years. I am still concerned about the possible long-term effects on my health, mental and physical but have just had to live with it.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Liveinhope; I think that when you've had a sleep problem for many years, your habit is quite ingrained, and it will take a while to for your body clock/brain to re learn a different habit.
    I am on around week 10, and still am working on extending my sleeping hours. It's been a very slow improvement for me, and although I've seen some improvements, (I don't need my earplugs, natural sleep remedies, or to visit the bathroom in the night anymore, and I generally go to sleep straight away now) I'm not sleeping that much longer than I was before. It is frustrating, and tempting to throw in the towel and think it's not working, but you have to remember that everyone is different, and it might just take you longer to see change in the length of your sleep time.
    Keep using the tools every day. Keep up with your wind down routine, and every now and again, write down every little improvement you have noticed. Go over your stats since the beginning, and even a slight gradual improvement on your graph can be encouraging.
    Keep in touch with the community too, as they have been a great motivator with me, keeping me going when I've felt so hopeless at times.
    We'll get there.
    EO

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hello Philipp,
    Glad to hear you are getting good results with your sleep. Hope the excersise routine helps you with the depression, I try to excersise through the week but I don't enjoy it, I force myself to swim and do gym stuff, the only thing I love is walking in the countryside. Or growing plants in the greenhouse , or anything outdoors always bucks me up,I'm hoping to start bike riding again soon. My worst depressing day is Sundays,
    Anyone else find Sunday's depressing?
    Anna xx

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 4

    Just finished week 3, but I don't think I did as well a I hoped to. The first night, did okay. The second one however, even though I'd gone to bed and woke up as scheduled, I woke up with a bad headache starting. These have been managed recently and I haven't had one like it for a few months. It scared me having something I was recently hospitalized for return, so I gave myself an extra hour of sleep.

    I'm posting this in the discussion about depression and early waking because it was the earlier time combined with a loss of about a half hour of sleep that brought on the headaches. Part of managing my depression is getting enough sleep. While I was successful in getting rid of the headache with the extra hour, I was unsuccessful in keeping with the sleep schedule.

    Any advice on how to adjust the schedule to cover such issues?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    It is hard to understand how loss of 30 minutes sleep can cause such a problem, I guess this is a question for your GP.

    All I know contradiction is that sleepio works as long as you follow Prof's rules and taking an extra hour more than your sleep schedule will not put you on the road to recovery from insomnia.

    The bad headaches must be scary so if I were you I would definitely chat to your GP. Sorry I can't help you with this problem.

    Ve

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 4

    Oh! I guess I better clarify. I don't have insomnia. I'm doing this program to see if I can't improve the sleep I am getting.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Contraddiction, if you don't have insomnia, how blessed you are! If you're just trying to improve the sleep you get, I would think you may not need to necessarily press through a highly narrowed sleep window, especially if a lack of sleep brings on bad headaches. You can modify your sleep window (there's a page on here that tells you how to do this: https://www.sleepio.com/library/article/how-to-shift-your-sleep-window/).

    There are other habits to solidly fix in place, like a regular bedtime and get up time;
    Do you wake up in the middle of the night or do you usually fall asleep quickly and sleep straight through?

    Keep in mind that when your sleep efficiency average for a week is in the upper 80% range, the Prof will add increments of 15 min. to your sleep window.

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