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May 02, 2017
DEPRESSION AND INSOMNIA can feel like the world’s worst combination. If you suffer from either or both, you can get it under control and ensure a better night’s sleep.
Depression and insomnia act like two unfortunate siblings trapped on the same sinking ship. Each condition on its own could trigger the other, or make it worse. The evidence of the relationship between insomnia and depression is well-established. People who suffer from chronic insomnia are a shocking 10 times more likely to suffer from depression as people who have no trouble getting to sleep or remaining asleep all night long. Similarly, about 75 percent of people who are dealing with depression report that they have some type of sleep issue. Since about 20 million Americans are affected by depression, that means 15 million people struggle with sleep troubles from a single cause.
It actually is not too difficult to imagine how these conditions can act like two characters in a slap fight that makes everything worse. People who cope with depression often struggle to manage their feelings of sadness or irritability at all times of the day.
At night, when the pressure to put a happy spin on their lives is lessened, they sink into troublesome thought patterns. Anytime you start to worry about things or agonize over events in the past before bed, you risk having trouble getting to sleep. If your troubles lead you to wake up too early and stress out about trying to fall back asleep, you may compound the problem.
Too little sleep, or sleep that is poor in quality, is typically referred to as “sleep deprivation.” This condition can cause trouble for you during the daytime, especially if it continues each night and is not resolved promptly. At first, you might just notice that you rely more on caffeinated substances, or that you have a little trouble focusing on work, school or home activities. Over time, you can find yourself prone to sickness or accidents more often than you used to be. Left unchecked, sleep deprivation can lead to an increased risk of heart conditions, mood disorders and weight gain.
It is important to distinguish clinical depression from feeling sad on occasion. Depression is more persistent, and may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as general moodiness or irritability, lack of appetite, lack of energy, lost interest in beloved hobbies and repeated feelings of hopelessness.
Sleep deprivation does not cause depression on its own. However, not getting enough sleep or gettingpoor quality sleep can trigger depression in people who are predisposed to it. This underscores the importance of seeking help for sleep disorders, before they start to wreak havoc in all parts of your life.
If you have insomnia or depression, or both, you deserve to feel better about your life. Ask your doctor for a recommendation to a specialist who can better diagnose your concerns and prescribe treatments designed to help get you back on track.
Rely on tricks such as mindfulness and a regular sleep routine to minimize the likelihood that you will struggle getting decent shuteye each night.
Depression and insomnia do not need to be a one-two punch ruining your life. With the right approach and some professional assistance, you can turn it all around.