Getting Out of Bed When It Feels Too Hard
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Sometimes, getting out of bed can be a challenge. In some cases, you might be experiencing a temporary illness, or maybe your body needs to catch up on sleep from a few late nights. However, when you have ongoing difficulties waking up in the morning, you might wonder, “Why can’t I get out of bed?”
If you are having chronic difficulty with getting out of bed, you may be struggling with a mental health condition, such as bipolar disorder or major depression. One of the symptoms of a depressive episode, which can occur with major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder, is changes in sleep habits. For some people, this means sleeping too much. That, combined with the fact that a depressive episode can cause fatigue, low energy and difficulty completing daily tasks, means that depression can make it difficult to get out of bed.
Below are some solutions when you can’t get out of bed from depression.
Let Some Light In
Light therapy has been established as an effective treatment modality for various forms of depression. If you’re struggling to get out of bed in the morning, you might consider leaving the blinds open at night so that the morning sunlight comes into your bedroom. Exposure to light first thing in the morning can increase your alertness and improve your mood so that you’re ready to tackle the day.
Creating a playlist of upbeat music can help you start your morning off on a better note, quite literally. Studies have found that music can reduce sleepiness and help people perform better in the morning. Start your day with some of your favorite tunes if you’re having a hard time getting going in the morning.
Set More Than One Alarm
Sometimes, setting an alarm and getting the day started by a certain time is necessary, whether you have to get to work, wake children up for school or attend an appointment or meeting. If you’re someone who struggles with fatigue, you may not wake up with your first alarm. In this case, setting multiple alarms reduces your risk of sleeping through the alarm and not waking up on time.
Keep Your Alarm Clock Out of Arm’s Reach
If setting more than one alarm isn’t enough to get you to stop snoozing, keeping your alarm clock across the room, where you can’t reach it from the bed and then go back to sleep, may be helpful. If you have to get out of bed to turn it off, you might be more likely to stay up.
Think Positive Thoughts
One of the problems with depression is that it can skew your thoughts toward the negative. When you get stuck in a negative thinking pattern, it’s easy to think, “Why even bother?” Instead of focusing on the negative, challenge yourself to replace negative thinking patterns with a positive reframe. For instance, if you’re dreading work, think about how grateful you are to be employed.
Visualize Positive Moments
Another problem with depression is that it can lead you to believe that life will always be bad. Try not to allow your thoughts to go to a dark place, and visualize times in your life that were happier. You might think about a vacation you loved, a success at work or even the birth of your child. Whatever it is, thinking of positive moments can motivate you to get through the day.
Start the Day With Physical Activity
You’ve probably heard that exercise benefits individuals with depression, and there is truth to this statement. Research has shown that physical activity reduces feelings of sleepiness, so starting the day with a walk or bike ride can wake you up and boost your mood. You may even find that you begin to look forward to your morning exercise, so it gives you a reason to get out of bed. Take things a step further and attend a group exercise class, so you get a dose of socialization to elevate your mood.
Ask For Help
There are self-help strategies that may alleviate depression symptoms and make it easier for you to function in daily life, but if you continue to have a hard time getting out of bed or finding the motivation to carry out basic activities, it may be time to reach out for help. Medication and/or counseling are effective for treating depression and can reduce the severity of depression symptoms like fatigue, loss of interest in daily activities and over-sleeping.
Stay In Bed if You Need To
Sometimes, it’s important to have some self-compassion and take extra time for rest and rejuvenation. If you’re simply exhausted and cannot get out of bed, you may need to stay in bed to recharge your batteries. If you have nothing scheduled, or it’s reasonable to clear your schedule, an occasional day in bed for the sake of your mental health may be just what’s needed.
Take Control Of Your Mental Health
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “DSM-IV to DSM-5 Major Depressive Episode/Disorder Comparison.” National Library of Medicine, June 2016. Accessed December 2, 2022.
- Cajochen, Christian. “Alerting effects of light.” Sleep Medicine Reviews, December 2007. Accessed December 2, 2022.
- Kaplan, Katherine A.; Talavera, David C.; & Harvey, Allison G. “Rise and shine: A treatment experiment testing a morning routine to decrease subjective sleep inertia in insomnia and bipolar disorder.” Behaviour Research and Therapy, December 2018. Accessed December 2, 2022.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness. “Depression.” August 2017. Accessed December 2, 2022