Depression is a serious mental illness that impacts millions of Americans each year — even more so since the pandemic began two years ago. While seeking medical intervention and counseling can help with this insidious issue, there are plenty of holistic approaches to help support those with depression. Using wearable technology is one of those approaches.
Here’s how new wearable technology can help treat and prevent depression.
Wearables help regulate sleep patterns.
Sleep hygiene plays a foundational role in health and wellness. However, it often gets sacrificed for other activities, including scrolling on social media, working late, or lying awake stressing about the next day.
The long-term impacts of sleep deprivation have a direct relationship with mortality. A meta-review of several sleep studies indicated a 25% to 38% increase in depressive symptoms among those with poor sleep hygiene.
Wearable devices like Hapbee help regulate sleep patterns by creating awareness around downtime, tracking restless periods, and signaling the body that it’s time to rest. These devices can help people regulate their sleep patterns and promote hormonal regulation to prevent depression. Many depressive episodes can be caused by these chemical imbalances.
Wearables promote physical movement.
The relationship between physical movement and depression is pretty clear: depression is linked with low endorphin levels, while exercise increases these hormones. While this is an oversimplification of a complex, scientific process, it makes the point that exercise can help relieve the symptoms of depression.
The rise of FitTech or fitness technology in the form of wearable devices helps people develop awareness surrounding their movement habits and patterns. They promote more physical movement by increasing motivation using reminders and challenges.
An exercise is also a powerful form of stress management, which helps mitigate triggers that could lead to a depressive episode.
Wearables help with stress management.
Stress is often referred to as the silent killer, going hand-in-hand with sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, a lack of sleep and excessive stress will only cause more sleep disruptions, creating a vicious cycle that’s hard to break.
Many wearable devices aid with stress management, whether by promoting physical movement or with targeted mindfulness exercises. These devices create motivation to slow down, unplug, and take a few minutes to breathe. Some of the more advanced devices track increases in blood pressure and provide programming for mindfulness activities, while others vibrate to help slow your breathing.
Scientists believe that, when left unmanaged, chronic stress can lead to a major depressive disorder. Managing stress before that shift occurs is a powerful form of prevention.
Wearables help track triggers and mood changes.
We live in a world with constant distractions and responsibilities. As such, it can be difficult to stay in tune with our bodies and minds at all times. Yet, creating awareness about what we’re feeling – and why – is an integral aspect of managing our mental health.
Wearable technology often tracks data around our triggers and mood changes. These can be shifts we may not even be consciously aware of. Additionally, they provide room for reflection to note what triggered those feelings. These data points and increased mind-body awareness can help with emotional processing. Furthermore, they provide powerful health data for healthcare providers and therapists, should depressive symptoms develop.
It’s not always possible to prevent depression or handle everything holistically. However, using wearable technology to help promote holistic self-care and self-awareness can help.