Depression And Sleep Deprivation: How Are They Correlated?

Depression And Sleep

Feeling sad from time to time is normal. Life has its ups and downs and we usually know how to navigate those moments. Feeling sad most of the time is not. Feelings of extreme despondency and gloom should be taken seriously. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression affects approximately 7% of adults in the United States.

Depression can have a direct relationship with our sleep. A depressed individual may experience periods of insomnia and other sleep disturbances. As well, being sleep deprived can create some harmful effects over time and even trigger a depressive state.

What Is Depression?

Depression is a health concern that needs to be taken seriously. Individuals affected by depression often can’t go through with their daily activities. This can cause a multitude of problems at home and at work.

Feelings of sadness and despair for no apparent reason and a lack of interest in usual activities are usually signs that depression may be lurking. A person can be diagnosed with clinical depression if the symptoms have been persistent for two weeks or more.

Depression Symptoms

Depression and sleep

People affected with depression may show symptoms that vary. There is, however, a list of common symptoms that are usually present in those dealing with depression.

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Decreased interest in daily activities
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Decreased energy
  • Weight fluctuations; gain or loss
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Decreased libido
  • Sleep Disorders: can't sleep or oversleeping

SAD: Winter Depression

Depression and sleep

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects many people in all parts of the world. Also referred to as Winter Depression, it mostly affects people in the northernmost and southernmost parts of the planet. This type of depressive state occurs when the body lacks essential hormones and vitamins to function properly, which can affect sleep patterns and moods. SAD usually occurs in the winter months and goes away with the onset of Spring.

Vitamin D is essential for our overall well-being. A person may start to experience feelings of sadness and lethargy if there isn't a sufficient supply. Vitamin D can be absorbed through exposure to the sun and lack of sunshine may also trigger excessive production of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps your body schedule with daily awake and sleep times. Furthermore, excessive amounts can make the sufferer constantly sleepy and drowsy.

Depression and Sleep Deprivation: How Are They Correlated?

Sleep deprivation and depression are directly related. One can contribute to the other, and vice versa. Experiencing insomnia over an extended period of time can leave someone drained. It can also affect their general well-being. Being constantly without energy can bring on feelings of sadness. Symptoms of depression can start appearing if insomnia is not remedied.

Also, going through depression that includes several of the above-mentioned symptoms will often create sleepless nights. Someone who has never experienced insomnia in their life may start to have sleep problems when in a depressive state.

Depression may also cause someone to feel tired all the time and want to sleep more than usual. Chronic fatigue, or hypersomnia, can affect a depressive person’s life and cause social and family problems.

Treatment For Depression

Combination treatments are available to tackle depression and let a sufferer get back to their active lives. Each depression sufferer is different and a doctor should be consulted to find the right combination treatment tailored to each individual.

Treatment for depression include:

  • Psychotherapy

This may include Cognitive-behavioral Therapy that has been proven to help depression patients face certain challenges and make positive and long-lasting changes in their lives.

  • Medication

Many medications are available to treat depression. Sometimes a combination of medications is necessary to fully attack the symptoms. If sleep problems are present, the prescribing doctor will need to take that into consideration in order to choose the proper medication.

Helpful Tips for Sleeping with Depression

Depression and sleep

There are a few things that you can do at home on top of the typical treatments for depression like psychotherapy and medication.

Light Therapy

Light therapy helps with SAD symptoms and can help regulate sleep as well. Light therapy boxes mimic the sun and can help regulate melatonin to help depression sufferers get to sleep and stay asleep.

Anti-snoring Help

There are snoring aids If snoring or sleep apnea is causing sleep deprivation.

Create a Sleep Schedule

Keeping a sleep schedule and regulating your awake and asleep time may help your body and your mind sleep better.

Create a Peaceful Environment

Creating an environment that is quiet, dark, and comfortable will help ease the mind and be beneficial for sleeping calmly.

Take care of your body

Eating healthy foods, exercise, and meditation can all help heal your body and alleviate the symptoms of depression quicker. Also avoiding substances like coffee or alcohol can help prevent further sleep problems. 

Ask Professionals For Help

Having feelings of sadness and hopelessness should not be taken lightly. Having no interest in your usual activities could be a sign that something is wrong. Depression could be the onset of your sleepless nights or your sleepless nights could trigger a depressive episode.

Try some of the things that we mentioned in this article and if you feel that you don’t have control and things get worse, contact your healthcare provider.

Contact a doctor If you think that you are experiencing depression and/or sleep deprivation. Talk about your symptoms, including sleep disturbances. The health professional will know what will be the best course of action for your particular situation. If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.