Depression & Sleep Problems


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Sleep disorders and sleeping problems can be closely associated with depression as they evoke similar symptoms of fatigue, disinterest, and irritability. Thus, it is very important that you are not wrongly diagnosed.  Equally, it needs to be established whether your sleep disorder is causing depressive symptoms or whether your depression is causing a sleep disorder. Insomnia is very closely related with depression and is often why people suffering from depression seek medical advice for insomnia.

Stages of Sleep & Depression

The disturbance of sleep that is experienced due to depression is often due to the affect it has on REM sleep. People suffering from depression tend to enter more quickly into REM sleep and experience longer periods of REM sleep. REM sleep is the active stage and is the period during which we spend time dreaming. Less NREM sleep means less deep sleep and thus can take it’s toll on the mind as the brain is not given as much time to switch off and relax; it also allows our muscles to relax and is the time when our immune system re-builds. Therefore, a lack of this kind of sleep is going to seriously affect health and mentality during the day. Evidently, if you are already suffering from depressive symptoms, the lack of sleep and the toll that this alone will take, can seriously impair everyday life.

Insomnia & Depression

It is important for anyone who is having sleep disturbances and depressive symptoms to assess their sleeping patterns carefully. As insomnia is normally the reason that individuals seek medical advice for sleep problems, this then means that insomnia could be diagnosed as the root cause of the person’s lack of sleep. This is often the case, as sleep disruptions can often lead to depression. However, if the person is actually suffering from depression, the insomnia is just a secondary affect due to this.

Treating the insomnia, regardless of whether it is the primary or secondary issue is beneficial either way as insomnia is a massively contributing factor to depression. It has been found by psychiatrists that treating sleep depravity in depressed people can actually rid clinical depression and in more severe cases it can half the number of people who feel depressed. It is important that your doctor is aware of the insomniac symptoms you may be experiencing as some of the drugs used to treat depression can fuel sleep disruption. Equally, if depression symptoms are lifted following an undisturbed sleep, it cannot be taken for granted that there are no longer any problems as they may relapse soon after.  It is important to take lifestyle changes seriously and try and obtain the healthiest sleep possible as well as obtain the correct diagnosis.


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