Sleep for depression, really? Is that really going to make a difference to my mental health? Don’t worry, I wouldn’t have thought so either. People always talk about just how important sleep is but I would have thought that was just in general terms, but here we have actual proof that it does and will affect your mental health.
Depression and Sleep
Feeling sad now and then is a fundamental part of being human, especially during difficult or trying times. In contrast, disinterest feelings of sadness, anxiety, hopelessness and disinterest in things that were once enjoyable are symptoms of depression, an illness that affects 1 in 3 people in the US. Depression is not something that a person can ignore or simply step away from. Rather, it is a serious disorder that affects the way a person eats, feels, thinks and yes, sleeps. The cause of depression in not known, but it can be effectively controlled with treatment by a professional and is one of the reasons sites like this exist. To create more awareness and to kill the stigma attached. It’s not a matter of ‘just get over it’ or ‘you’ll be fine in the morning’ it is a serious condition and the fact that it affects so many of us is just staggering.
The relationship between sleep and the depressive illness is complex. Depression may cause sleep problems and sleep problems may cause or contribute to someone is affected by depression. For example, some people have symptoms of depression which occur before the onset of sleep problems. For other, sleep problems appear first. Sleep problems and depression may also share risk factors and biological features and the two conditions may respond to some of the same treatment strategies. Sleep problems are also associated with more severe depressive illness.
Insomnia is very common among depressed patients. Evidence suggests that people with insomnia have a ten-fold risk of developing depression compared with those who sleep well. Depressed individuals may suffer from a range of insomnia symptoms, including difficulty falling asleep (or sleep onset insomnia), difficulty staring asleep (or sleep maintenance insomnia), unrefreshing sleep, and daytime sleepiness. However, research suggests that the risk of developing depression is highest among people with both sleep onset and sleep maintenance insomnia.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is also linked with depression. In a study of 18,980 people in Europe conducted by Stanford researcher Maurice Ohayon, MD PhD, people with depression were found to be five times more likely to suffer from sleep apnea disordered breathing (OSA is the most common form of sleep disordered breathing). The good news is that treating OSA with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) may improve depression. A 2007 study of OSA patients who used CPAP for one year showed that improvements in symptoms of depression were significant and lasting.
In many cases, because symptoms of depression overlap with symptoms of sleep disorder there is a risk of miss diagnosis. For example, depressed mood can be a sign of insomnia, OSA. Restless legs’ syndrome (RLS), a neurological condition that causes discomfort in the legs’ and sleep problems, is also associated with depression. According to the Restless Legs Syndrom Foundation, approximately 40% of people with RLS complain of symptoms that would indicate depression if assessed without consideration of a sleep disorder. This just goes to show that you should never trust a single diagnosis. Get multiple ones if you can. On this site, your mental health is our number one goal and helping you through it.
Many children and adolescents with depression suffer from sleep problems such as insomnia of hyper insomnia (excessive sleepiness) or both. According to recent research, children with depression who suffer from both insomnia and hyper insomnia are more likely to have severe and longer lasting depression. Unfortunately they are also more likely to suffer from weight loss, impaired movement, and anhedonia (an inability to feel pressure). Additionally, NSF’s 2006 Sleep in America poll, which focused on children between the ages of 11 to 17, found a strong association between negative mood and sleep problems. Among adolescents who reported being unhappy, 73% of them reported that they didn’t sleep enough at night.
Day Time Tiredness
Ofcourse lack of sleep typically takes the blame for exhaustion, and if you’re logging less than seven hours of shut-eye each night, achieving the recommended seven to nine hours should be your first step to overcoming daytime tiredness. But if you’re already getting the target amount and still feel wiped out, you may have one of the following underlying sleep disorders.
The disorder is most commonly marked by excessive, loud snoring and snort-like breathing interruptions, but people with sleep apnea may also experience daytime exhaustion. That’s because the pauses in breathing during the night can interrupt sleep, making it difficult for your body to get the rest it needs. If you suspect that you may have sleep apnea, talk to a doctor. When left untreated, the condition can lead to an increased chance of heart trouble, diabetes, and other health complications. Lifestyle changes as well as treatments such as using a CPAP machine can ease sleep apnea and help you feel more rested.
People who routinely get a good night’s sleep yet can’t stay awake throughout the day could also have narcolepsy—a condition caused by the lack of a brain chemical called hypocretin that regulates sleep cycles and keeps us alert. Those with narcolepsy also tend to fall asleep unexpectedly throughout the day and may experience hallucinations. While there is no cure, medication can improve symptoms so that you feel less drowsy.
If your doctor rules out sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and other factors that could cause exhaustion (such as mental disorders or certain medications), he or she may consider a diagnosis of excessive daytime sleepiness. The best way to address this disorder is to look for its underlying cause, which may mean adjusting your sleep schedule, changing bedroom environment, and even learning some stress management techniques.
Your doctor may also suggest that you take naps throughout the day when possible, avoid alcohol, and consider altering any prescriptions that trigger drowsiness. On the other hand, certain medications can also be helpful. Your doctor may prescribe medication that works by altering the action of chemicals in your brain, or other medication that acts as a stimulant to help you feel more alert. Before starting any medication, make sure your doctor has a complete picture of your health so you can make the best decision together.
Oversleeping also, in contrast, can actually make you even more tired. When you go to sleep your brain goes through cycles of 90 to 120 minutes of sleep. So you go to sleep and after 90 minutes you are in your deepest ‘sleep zone’ then you slowly start to wake up and go into a lighter ‘sleep zone’, this happens around 3 or 4 times during the night, so when it’s time to get up your body slowly starts to wake you to be in your lightest sleep zone when you wake up. By hitting the snooze button and going back to sleep what do you think your brain thinks? That’s right, it thinks its starting another cycle, so then when you finally get up half an hour or an hour later, when you should be in your deep sleep zone, your body feels all out of whack. You feel excessively tired. So what do some people do? They go back to sleep. This can go on and on and take up your whole day, then its 6pm and your just getting out of bed. Trust me on this, its happened to me on several occasions.
Get up when you’re meant to get up. Don’t let your body fool you into thinking it needs more rest because if you’ve had those seven to nine hours already, you DON’T need them.
The Best Tip
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Love & smiles,