Mental health life hack - Eat and sleep for health

Having a mood disorder compounded by other health challenges means that I need to eat in a way that supports general health.

I do this by eating food as close to how nature created it as possible.

Eating a clean diet that supports what your body needs is an important component to good health. Another overlooked piece of the health puzzle is sleep.

My sleep is disturbed by an inability to feel sleepy, not being able to stay asleep after falling asleep, and nightmares and night terrors, so this is an area that is very difficult for me to manage. However, here is what I do to try to ensure that I get adequate sleep.

8 Steps to better sleep and less depression

1. I do not have a television in my bedroom.

2. I place my electronic devices on “do not disturb” and “overnight” modes so that only calls/texts from a few people that I chose carefully not to abuse interrupting my sleep with a text about a cute dog video.

3. I drink a lot of water throughout the day and in the hour before I go to sleep. I take a bio-break right before getting into bed.

4. I do not watch or listen to anything too exciting, violent, or thought-provoking before sleep. Instead, I wind-down with a mantra recorded in my own voice that affirms my goals and the life that I desire to create for myself.

5. I allow the mantra to play while I fall asleep.

6. I take melatonin—an herbal sleep aid that makes me drowsy without making me feel sleepy the next day.

7. If I wake up—which I do a few times every night, I use new age or meditation music to focus my attention and breathing on relaxation. This helps me to fall asleep again.

8. I do not beat myself up if I get a poor night’s sleep. I know that I have done all that I can to foster restorative sleep and I just try again the next night. When I get a good night sleep it allows me to have a productive day.

Up next is an article the best ways to set emotionally healthy productivity goals.

My experience with trauma is unique to me. Not everyone will be triggered in the same way or react as I have in similar situations, but my hope is that it will help people to understand what it is like to have a mood disorder, how my trauma occurred, and what efforts I have taken, along with my healthcare team, family, and a small group of friends to save my life and to create my new normal.

I want to hear from you caregivers and loved ones of a person struggling with mental illness, PTSD, or recovering from a physical or emotional trauma. I especially want to hear from anyone who has found their way to their own recovery—and new normal. This is a safe community in which to share your story.

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