5 Ways I’m Reducing My Depression Naps

I sleep ok at night and WAY too much during the day. When I’m really depressed, I can get up early to take care of my dog and then go back to sleep until late afternoon. Sometimes, I can limit my depression naps when I have a lot keeping me busy, such as any work tasks I might have – which I do from home and largely on my own schedule within a day. But for the most part, I find myself frustratingly vulnerable to the sandman’s influence. Plus, now that Stella is no longer a puppy, she’s happy to spend hours on end with me, dreaming of whatever dogs dream of while we sleep on my bed. She used to wake me up every couple of hours to demand something from me, but now, it’s all snoozing.

1. Running

Running is a two-birds-one-stone solution for me, because it offers both the physiological and biochemical benefits of exercise in addition to the incredible fact that you can’t sleep when you’re running. I’ve lost a lot of my endurance, but I’ve been maintaining at least some regular running, which is remarkably easier to do the more recently I’ve had a ketamine infusion. I recently noted that the day after an infusion, I ran three miles without stopping, which I hadn’t done in months. Then, a few days before my next one, I struggled just to run one mile. Why is it so different? I guess that as the ketamine wears off, I lose the mental energy to push myself very far, and I’m worn out as soon as I start. It’s frustrating, but I try to just be pleased that I got out there at all. Perhaps, if I manage to rebuild my endurance a little, it’ll be easier to keep it up even through the changes to my ketamine buffer.

2. Setting the Intention with No Nap Monday

No Nap Monday was created in response to the smashing success of Yes Day, both of which were proposed by my therapist. No Nap Monday has been far less successful, but I do try to at least sleep less on Mondays. Sometimes I set an alarm for something reasonable, which is definitely subjective and changes week to week. Sometimes, my depression naps are an hour. Sometimes, they’re three. But no matter what, it’s good to at least have the intention.

3. Adding Activities

Ultimately, my goal is to not only sleep less, but also do more. It follows that I should attempt to add things to my routine. Volunteering is option that interests me. Over the years, I’ve volunteered or worked with animals in a few different capacities, and I always really enjoy it, so I tend to look for opportunities in that area. There’s an animal rescue near me that needs volunteers to feed the bunnies, and that sounds right up my alley. I just have to tackle my expert-level overthinking habit and then plow through my anxiety about new things and I’ll be right on track!

4. SAD Lamp Makes Me Happy (or at least less sleepy)

It’s now mid-October, so I pulled my seasonal depression lamp out of my closet the other day. The weather doesn’t affect me as much here in Colorado as it did in Michigan, but I can tell after a few cloudy days that I’m in need of some sun. Simulated sun will have to do.

5. Changing My Routine with Depression Naps

Much as I hate doing it, deviating from my routine often keeps me from giving in to depression naps. I tend to get irresistibly tired as noon approaches, and my mood slopes downward in the afternoon anyway, so that’s my prime depression nap opening. By forcing myself to be busy doing other things during that time, I keep my brain on its toes. The downside to this is that I do well with routine for other reasons, so abandoning that makes me anxious and sometimes decidedly cranky. But at least I can prove to myself that I am capable of functioning without depression naps.

Oh No. More Depression Naps

The irony of my recent post about unnecessary sleeping in the form of depression naps is glaringly obvious. Yesterday, I got up at 6, took care of Stella’s morning routine, then took a four-hour nap. Then, I fell asleep at 7pm, woke up at 2am still wearing my clothes, took my meds and brushed my teeth, then went back to sleep until 6. Big oops.

At this point, I don’t think I can still use the “I’m tired from traveling” excuse, much as I would like to. Sleeping too much is, for me, a big indicator of depression. I’m really hoping this is a fluke and not the ketamine wearing off. If it’s the latter, that would make my time between maintenance infusions about three weeks, which is a little short for my liking.

I had errands to do today, which I managed to do after an entirely too-long nap. I’m putting my foot down. Time to drag myself outside and go for a run, because you can’t sleep if you’re moving. Curse you, depression symptoms!

Update: My run was lovely, despite stepping in an icy puddle and getting my socks wet. Also nearly ate it on some ice deceptively camouflaged with snow. It definitely woke me up. I saw some cute dogs, though, and the mountains were pretty. All in all: would recommend, minus the puddle and the ice.