What’s the Link Between Sleep Disorders and Depression?

An inability to sleep is one of the key signs of depression. Another sign of clinical depression is sleeping too much.

Having a sleep disorder does not in itself cause depression but lack of sleep does play a role. Lack of sleep caused by another medical illness or by personal problems can make depression worse. An inability to sleep that lasts over a long period of time is also an important clue that someone may be depressed.

What is Clinical Depression?

Clinical depression is a mood disorder, causing you to feel sad, hopeless, worthless, and helpless. Sure, we all feel sad or blue from time to time. But when you feel sad for long periods and the feelings become intense, the depressed mood and its associated physical symptoms can keep you from living a normal life.

Why Is Sleep So Important?

Normal sleep is a restorative state. However, when sleep is disrupted or inadequate, it can lead to increased tension, vigilance, and irritability.

Physical or emotional trauma and metabolic or other medical problems can trigger sleep disturbances. Poor sleep can lead to fatigue. Its a vicious circle and because you feel tired you excercuse less and that leads to a decline in your fitness level. This vicious cycle of inactivity and disturbed sleep causes both physical and mood-related symptoms.

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia is difficulty initiating or maintaining normal sleep. It can result in nonrestorative sleep and interfere with or impair the way you function during the day. Insomnia is often a characteristic of depression and other mental disorders. With insomnia, you may sleep too little, have difficulty falling asleep, awaken frequently throughout the night, or be unable to get back to sleep.

With untreated depression, you may have overwhelming feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, or guilt. These feelings can interrupt sleep. Or your mind may be in overdrive, thinking about situations over which you have no control. With that thinking come high levels of stress, fears about poor sleep, low daytime activity levels, and a tendency to crave sleep.

How are Sleep Disorders and Depression Treated?

The treatment for clinical depression depends on how serious the mood disorder is. Counseling combined with medication in some instances is highly effective in treating sleep related depression.

The medication works to decrease symptoms of sadness or hopelessness while councelling helps improve coping skills and change negative attitudes and beliefs caused by depression. Talk therapy also works on coping skills to help you fall asleep more easily.