Though it may come as no surprise that people find it harder to fall asleep when they’re emotionally wound up, the relationship between mood disorders and quality sleep is a complex, two-way street. Just as negative mood states can make getting a good night’s sleep a virtual impossibility, frequently interrupted or insufficient sleep can lead to bouts of depression or anxiety. Regardless of which comes first, the end result is that a blue mood and poor sleep go hand-in-hand. Could your mental state be contributing to your slumber troubles? Three easy ways to tell:
1. Your Switch Is Always “On.”
Do your worries play on an endless feedback loop in your brain when you climb into bed? Whether you are tossing and turning with anxious thoughts racing through your mind or dwelling on a general feeling of negativity, the inability to shut off the pessimistic chatter in your head during night hours is a major contributor to sleep issues. In fact, the risk of insomnia is much higher among people with major depressive disorders.
2. You Drag During the Day.
Feelings of depression and anxiety can make it harder for you to stay asleep or to sleep deeply; they can also cause you to have more fragmented sleep patterns that leave you feeling fatigued the next day even though you logged enough hours in bed. Of course, depression itself can be accompanied by low energy, so it is hard to tell whether daytime drowsiness is a result of mood-related poor sleep, or low mood itself. Either way, if you are shuffling through your day when you’ve spent enough hours in bed the night before, your mood may be playing a role.
3. You Have Bad Dreams.
Everyone experiences the occasional scary dream, but frequent nightmares are associated with depression and anxiety, as well as poor sleep quality and a lower quality of life. It’s a tough cycle to break: Disturbing or negatively charged dreams can cause you to awaken from sleep and make it challenging to fall back to sleep; then, that inability to get a solid night of shut-eye can leave you feeling emotionally out of sorts the next day, which impacts your ability to sleep the following night.
The good news is that depression, anxiety, and low mood are treatable conditions. Addressing these issues can help you improve the quality of your sleep, in addition to boosting your energy level during the day. Talk with your doctor about your sleep troubles and your mood concerns to come up with a plan today.