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Depression and Sleep

You may be depressed and unable to sleep or you may feel depressed from your lack of sleep. Having insomnia can cause your depression ten times worse: it may take you longer to sleep, your sleep time will be shorter and sleep less or less, which is important for good overall health.

According to the National Association of Mental Health, clinical depression affects more than 19 million Americans. Many sleep disorders have been associated with depression; sometimes sleep disorders occur first, followed by depression, or depression that aggravates sleep disorders. A recent European study related to depression with sleep apnea, in which people with depression were five times more likely to have sleep apnea or other sleep disorders.

What is Depression?

Understanding depression is the first step in treating it. If you have these symptoms below find a healthcare professional:

  • sad, anxious, or "empty" mood

  • you are asleep or you can't sleep

  • reduced appetite, or increased appetite or weight gain

  • lose the fun in the occasional fun activity

  • lose libido

  • anxiety

  • difficulty concentrating in the workplace

  • fatigue or loss of energy

  • guilt, hopelessness or worthlessness

  • thoughts of suicide or death

SAD, or Seasonal Impairment Disorders, is another type of depression that occurs during the winter months due to lack of sun and daylight. People with SAD may feel better in the spring and summer as the days get longer.

Who Gets Depression?

Women and older people are more likely to have depression symptoms. This group also had higher insomnia rates than the other groups.

Treating Depression and Sleep Problems

If you suspect you may have depression, a mental health professional may recommend the right treatment, psychotherapy, medications, and so on. If you have sleep apnea, you should avoid tasty antidepressant medications that can aggravate untreated sleep apnea. If you are in this category, talk to your healthcare provider so you can start CPAP therapy involving zero medicine.

For those who do not have sleep disorders, here are some tips for sleeping on depression:

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule (For example, sleep every night at 10:30 am and get up at 6am, even on weekends)

  • Switch to bright light after you wake up

  • Don't sleep if you have insomnia

  • Get your daily exercise, but don't get too close to bedtime

  • Limit your intake of coffee and alcohol

Lack of sleep may be due to depression or sleep disorders may be the cause. It is important that you get a proper diagnosis by a healthcare professional so that your sleep problems can be treated. And if you are treated for depression rather than sleep disorders, continue to monitor your sleep patterns to make sure you don't have sleep apnea or other sleep disorders. There are answers and help for your symptoms. It is important to find a professional organization to help you in your quest for a better life.

Please note that depression may be protective sleep apnea. Ask yourself the following five questions to determine if you have sleep apnea.

  1. Are you snoring?

  2. Are you too tired during the day?

  3. Have you been told that you stop breathing during sleep?

  4. Do you have a history of high blood pressure?

  5. Is your neck size greater than 17 inches if you are a man or greater than 16 inches if you are a woman?


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