There are many signs of depression, and different patterns in sleep can be one of them. However, analyzing sleep patterns as a sign of depression can be a bit confusing since symptoms are different from case to case. Still, most people who experience depression also have problems with sleep. Here's what to know about the link between sleep and depression:
What is depression?
Depression is a clinical term for those who have extreme feelings of disappointment, sadness, or hopelessness. For many people, depression comes in waves and is tied to specific situations or thoughts. People with clinical depression often have these feelings or waves for long periods of time. This can make it difficult to live life normally.
Sleep changes are actually one of the leading signs of depression. However, the changes in sleep will differ from person to person. For example, some people will oversleep when they're depressed, while others will have trouble resting. It is important to keep the person's normal sleep habits in mind when comparing their current sleep situation.
Lack of sleep
If you think that you or someone else is struggling with depression, it is important to pay attention to sleep. Sleep has a huge impact on our health and ability to function, meaning that sleep is highly important and shouldn’t be ignored. In the case that you or the other person are experiencing insomnia or having trouble sleeping due to depression, it is important to find ways to sleep more. If you sleep poorly while depressed, it is likely that your depression will worsen.
To sleep better, you can try taking melatonin supplements, putting away your devices two hours before going to bed, or using different sleep devices. If you are still having trouble sleeping, talk to a health care professional for medication or other stronger recommendations. You should talk to your healthcare provider before making any dramatic changes.
Too much sleep
Even though you want to sleep while you are depressed, you don't want to sleep too much either, or else you could miss out on friends, family, and life. With this in mind, it is a really delicate balance for how much one should sleep when depressed. If you want to try to sleep less while depressed, you can try to create a rigid routine to adhere to. This includes times for waking up and going to sleep, showering, and socializing. Creating a routine can help you get up in the morning, even when you don't feel like it.
A lot of experts agree that creating a routine helps those who suffer from depression in many ways, not just when it comes to getting the right amount of sleep. A routine allows daily consistency and something to reward yourself for.
CBT: What It is and How to Treat It
Defined by Psychology Today, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that treats problems and boosts happiness by modifying dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and thoughts resting on the idea that thoughts and perceptions influence behavior.
CBT can help control or eliminate negative thoughts or worries caused by insomnia. With the practice of good sleep habits and avoiding patterned behaviors, certain techniques can be valuable in treating insomnia. Common practices helpful with CBT can be found online.
Reaffirming statements alone can positively alter your cognitive behavior like starting a sleep journal to write down your immediate thoughts.
A sleep study may be the best route to link sleepiness. Though the type of sleep study varies by a patient’s symptoms, healthcare providers will monitor your sleep either in a lab or at your home using portable home sleep apnea testing equipment.
Completing a sleep study can also enhance your quality of life from anxiety which already is most likely taking away a full night’s rest.
If you live in Alaska and are ready to take back your sleep, contact The Alaska Sleep Clinic and receive a free 10-minute phone consultation with a sleep educator who can help you determine if a sleep study is right for you.
Alaska Sleep Clinic is the only sleep lab in Alaska with a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in sleep disorders, Dr. Angie Randazzo.
Dr. Angie has 25 years of experience treating all types of sleep disorders, including insomnia, delayed sleep phase, sleep apnea, shift work and daytime fatigue/sleepiness, using behavioral techniques.
The link between depression and sleep is quite strong. Changes in one’s sleep cycle, whether that be sleeping too little or too much, are common signs of depression. In either case, getting a healthy sleep routine can be a way to start putting your mental health first.