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What is the relationship between sleep & depression?

 

 

As a human, we all have experienced emotional fluctuations. We tend to feel sad, hopeless, happy, hopeful and various other emotions according to our surroundings and situations. Although as normal as it may seem, persistent feeling of sadness, anxiety and irritability is a sign of clinical depression. 

Over the years of research, it is stated that Depression and sleep have common biological roots and they are strongly associated. Depression may disturb your sleep or sleep deprivation may contribute to depression, either way, the linkage is unavoidable. Depressed individuals often show signs of a range of insomnia issues like difficulty in falling asleep (sleep-onset insomnia), difficulty staying asleep (sleep maintenance insomnia), unrefreshing sleep, and daytime sleepiness. An inability to fall asleep or excessive drowsiness are both results of depression. 

Depression not only affects the mentality of a person but also show physical disturbances and is associated with other chronic health issues such as heart disease. Symptoms of depression may not be very prominent at first, but it grows on a person. Hence, is it advised to seek medical health as soon as noticeable differences in one’s mood start showing up. Depressions are of various forms and exhibit different yet similar symptoms. 

 

Symptoms:

Symptoms may vary from person to person and show different symptoms depending on the stages of the depression.

  • Extreme withdrawal symptoms- Person with depression show disinterest in doing things they would enjoy otherwise. Depression also results in reduced libido.
  • Forgetfulness- Depression alters the overall brain function which also results in forgetfulness in a person. 
      • Constant feeling of hopelessness, sadness- these feelings tend to grow as time passes and does not show any improvements
  • Finds hard to concentrate- Focusing on a task and completing it may give a hard time to the person suffering from depression
      • Daytime drowsiness
  • Loss of energy-  One may feel extremely tired after performing simple, everyday activities and may not feel like doing anything at all.
    • Insomnia- Person in depression may find it extremely difficult to fall asleep due to repetitive thoughts and emotions running through their mind.
    • A drastic change in weight and appetite- A person may overeat or not eat at all. Depression hampers one’s appetite which eventually leads to weight loss or weight gain.

     

    Depression may be accompanied by low self-esteem, anxiety, and various physical problems like back-ache and gastrointestinal problems. The most prominent and common symptoms of depression are insomnia and/or daytime sleepiness. 

     

    Causes:

    Causes of depression, just like symptoms, may vary from person to person. Few of the main causes are mentioned below:

     

  • Sleeping Pattern: As mentioned above, depression and sleep are closely related. Hence, sleep deprivation often leads to depression. Also, depression may contribute to various forms of sleep disorders and insomnia. 
  • Brain structure: A medical scan of the brain shows alterations in the brain structure of the person undergoing depression. Certain neurotic networks and nerve signaling may not perform effectively. Processing certain information may also get difficult. 
  • Genes: Scientific study suggests that the genetic makeup of a person can be a contributing factor to depression, but it is not certain.  In some cases, you may have the genes but still won’t develop depression, while in some cases, depression may be developed even when you do not have the genes.
  • Life events: A disturbing life event may trigger depression in some people. It could the death of someone close, a difficult relationship or a stressful situation. A lot of other factors may cause depression such as your surroundings, where you live, office/school environment and so on. 
  • Childhood problems: People with any depressing experiences as a child are at a higher risk of developing depression. The trauma may cause brain structure alteration which may lead to depression in adulthood.  
  • Other conditions: Drugs, alcohol, caffeine may be other contributing factors to depression. 
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    Treatment:

    Treatment for depression involves a consolidation of pharmaceutical drugs and/ or psychotherapy. Each of these therapies may be used to treat both depression and insomnia and treatment for sleep problems is often an integral part of depression therapy. A doctor may prescribe antidepressants to improve your condition. While a psychiatrist may talk you out of depression and may provide the necessary help. 

    Besides these precautions, it is also essential to get comfortable while sleeping and a quality mattress will aid sleep and better your condition. 

    Coping:

    Depression can be exhausting and hence it is advised to seek help as soon as it is diagnosed. In addition to the treatment, a few tips can accelerate your treatment

    -Regularize your sleep-wake cycle

    -exercise regularly 

    -Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake

    -Lastly, speak.