Feeling sad and low due to stress at work and home is a part of life. However, when such emotions persist long enough to overwhelm a person and disrupt daily routine, it is a symptom of depression. Depression is a severe mental health issue that affected approximately 16.1 million American adults aged 18 or above at least once in 2014. The above data once again underlines the growing menace of depression.
Overall, depression is not an easy condition to deal with. It affects the way a person eats, drinks, sleeps and thinks. Unlike other aspects, an individual’s sleeping pattern and depression are dependent on each other, as they are responsible for triggering each other. Both of them have common risk factors and biological repercussions and in most situations respond to similar treatments.
For a few, the lack of sleep, also known as insomnia, is a major trigger for depression. For others, depression is a major contributing factor to an individual’s inability to sleep properly and other problems related to sleep.
How depression affects sleep patterns
Depression affects an individual’s sleep pattern by disrupting the natural brain functioning, which, in turn, disturbs the normal sleeping cycle of the person. An individual with depression is likely to witness a variety of sleeping problems. Here some of the common ones:
- Initial insomnia: Its main features include a delay in getting to sleep despite lying in the bed and the intent to sleep due to wandering thoughts. While in some cases people do eventually manage to sleep, in others people remain awake the entire night.
- Middle insomnia: Also known as middle-of-the-night insomnia (MOTN) or nocturnal awakenings, the person frequently wakes up during the night and is unable to get back to sleep easily.
- Late insomnia: Also known as early morning wakening, a person with this sleep problem wakes up early in the morning and is unable to get back to sleep again.
Though there are times when a person with depression is lucky enough to get a sound sleep during the night, this does not imply that he or she will feel fresh the next day. In fact, he or she is likely to feel tired and exhausted even on the following day. A person with depression is also likely to sleep a lot and spend most of his or her day in the bed that also results in him or her feeling tired the next day.
Deprivation of sleep causes negative thinking
It has been scientifically established that a person must get at least eight hours of good sleep during the night. This is because all the essential body processes responsible for protection from any sort of health problems occur during this time. Additionally, it builds mental and emotional resilience in a person.
In case of a person going through depression, it is normal to develop an inability to enjoy a sound good night’s sleep. This is because depression disturbs one’s normal sleep cycle and does not let the brain rest.
The deprivation of good sleep not only deteriorates a person’s mood but also causes negative thinking. This in turn tends to make the person feel more depressed, thereby creating a vicious cycle of negative thoughts.
Don’t treat sleep problems as normal
Though depression can be treated using a combination of psychotherapy and drugs, taking proper rest can be of great help in curbing its symptoms. For someone with a sleep problem and on the verge of developing depression, it is essential to get good sleep. Other activities, such as regular exercise but not two hours before the bedtime; avoiding alcohol, particularly in the evenings; and practicing relaxation techniques can be of great help.