More than 75% of people with depression have some form of sleep disorder. Figuring out which came first, though, isn’t always easy.
When you’re dealing with depression and sleeping issues, one exacerbates the other. Either your depression has led to problems sleeping, or your inability to get adequate rest each night has left you exhausted, less able to regulate your emotions, and vulnerable to depression.
No matter which way it happened, the two problems can feed off each other.
The consequences are real, and you need help dealing with both your insomnia and depression so you can get back to living life to the fullest. Here’s some information to help with that process, courtesy of the team of experts at Arlington Family Practice in Arlington, Massachusetts.
Depression and sleep
Depression is a mental health disorder that causes you to feel overwhelming worthlessness, sadness, and hopelessness. These can be normal feelings in small doses, but when they won’t go away, you may be diagnosed with clinical depression.
If you’re depressed, difficulty sleeping often is one of the symptoms. Sleep issues associated with depression include:
- Insomnia — trouble falling and staying asleep
- Hypersomnia — excessive daytime sleepiness
- Obstructive sleep apnea — your airway is blocked while you sleep
When you’re not sleeping well, the inevitable exhaustion makes it much harder to simply function in your daily life, let alone fight depression.
What treatments can help?
There are several effective methods for treating depression and sleep disorders.
Medications such as antidepressants are effective in fighting the effects of depression. Your doctor likely starts with a low dose, and in many cases, that can change your outlook tremendously. They can adjust the dosage or try a different medication as needed.
Therapy or counseling also can do a world of good if you’re depressed — it can help you look for something bigger than yourself or your surroundings, a sense of purpose or direction.
Therapy can also help you sleep better as your therapist works with you to change your thinking around sleep. Keeping a consistent bedtime with a calm winding-down routine is important.
Limiting daytime naps to under 20 minutes, avoiding alcohol, getting outside, and exercising regularly also helps improve the quality of your sleep.
If you’ve had enough of struggling to make it through each day — and night — contact Arlington Family Practice for caring, compassionate assistance. Just call our office, or you can fill out our online appointment request form and we’ll be in touch right away.