The Link Between Sleep And Depression

Healthy sleep

Sleep problems and depression are often linked and intertwined. Some of the signs of depression can leave a person feeling moody, listless, low, easily angered, down in the dumps and overburdened. The contradiction of being tired all throughout the day, while not being able to go to sleep at night or just wanting to sleep the entire day away are often indications that something is wrong.

This is a common scenario nowadays which takes place due to depression and lack of sleep. Depression is an illness that affects at least 20 million people in the US. It is not something that you can assume to be cured on its own, or simply ignore. The cause of depression is not known, but with the help of various treatments it can help to be controlled and sleep patterns can return to a more normal routine.

Lack of sleep and depression, have a tendency to travel together. The relationship between both the conditions is complex and the presence of one of these conditions can contribute to or be the cause of the other condition. In some people, issues with sleeping appear before the onset of depression. For others, depression symptoms appear first. Let’s discuss them in detail, one by one.

How Depression Can Affect Sleep Patterns:

Depression is a health condition that affects the brain functions to a huge extent, which includes the sleep-wake cycle. If the sleep-wake cycle or the biological clock is disturbed, it can lead to irregular sleeping patterns, and that further contributes to the depression. Over a period of time, this can turn into a vicious cycle. People suffering from depression have been found to experience a common condition of not being able to fall asleep. However, the manner in which depression affects one’s sleep differs from person to person. Difficulty in falling asleep may be the major problem for most people with depression, but in some cases (10-20% of people) depression leads to excessive sleeping. Depression can affect sleep patterns in the following ways:

  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Trouble staying asleep-Sleep that never feels like “enough”
  • Lack of quality-sleep
  • Difficulty going back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night.
  • Waking up too early
  • Difficulty concentrating and irritability
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Feeling tired once awake

Depression and sleep are co-related and regardless of the type of sleep disorder, one of the long-term effects of depression is the development of sleep debt, which further creates new problems.

How Disruptive Sleep Patterns Can Affect Depression and Mood:

Sleep is the most naturally efficient way for our bodies and minds to rejuvenate. You don’t need a sleep expert to tell you that disruptive sleep patterns make you more vulnerable to worry, stress, and anxiety. When we don’t get sufficient amount of sleep, even the simple issues appear to be complicated and overwhelming. Without enough sleep, we can quickly lose our ability to concentrate and maintain perspective, which in turn gives rise to unwanted stress and decreases our ability to calm down. Evidence suggests that individuals with insomnia have a greater risk of developing depression as compared to those with no problems with sleeping. Insomnia has been found to be common among depressed patients since years, but a new research shows that it may actually trigger the mental disorder! In a study, depressed patients suffering from insomnia were seventeen times more likely to not overcome depression after a year compared to the patients who were having a good amount of sleep all year round.

Recurring insomnia can lead to severe depression, so depression and sleep are linked and the diagnosis for your problem needs to be correct. Depression and mood swings are related to disruptive sleep patterns, and disruptive sleep patterns further aggravate depression. But here’s the good news! Treating one of these conditions may have a spillover benefit for the other! The natural solution to get rid of your blues could be as simple as getting enough sleep. If you can look for ways to sleep better during the night time, it will surely help combat your depression over a period of time.

A lot of people who suffer from disruptive sleep patterns are hesitant to go for Western sleep medications as they’re concerned about the possible side effects and addiction. However, if your insomnia is at an initial stage and not too serious, there are a lot of natural remedies that can help you! Various herbs (such as kava kava, passion flower and valerian) have a calming effect on the mind and body. Yoga is yet another non-invasive and a calming way of dealing with depression and sleep disorders. Getting quality sleep is vital to both physical and mental health and problems in this area should not be ignored.

Stephanie / March 3, 2016 / Health