The Complex Connection Between Lack of Sleep and Depression

Sleep deprivation can have a big impact on your physical health.

But it can also affect your mental health. In fact, a lack of sleep and depression are more closely related than you might think.

If you’re feeling depressed or even anxious, sleep deprivation may not be the first thing you think of. However, it’s important to look at your sleep habits and patterns to get a clearer picture of why you’re feeling low.

The connection between a lack of sleep and depression is nothing new. Researchers have been studying this link for years. In fact, many studies have shown that people with insomnia and other sleep issues have a greater risk of depression than others.

So, how does sleep affect your mental health and what can you do about it?

Why Does Sleep Deprivation Play Such a Big Role in Depression?

One of the most common symptoms of depression insomnia. Thus, the connection between sleep and feeling depressed is nothing new. If you haven’t been officially diagnosed, taking a look at the link between your sleeping habits and the way you’re feeling is a good indicator of what might be wrong.

For example, a lack of sleep can fuel your depression. How so?

For one thing, sleep allows your body to reset and restore itself. When you don’t get enough, you’ll feel fatigued, irritable, and tense. Additionally, not getting enough quality sleep can affect the mood-regulating areas of your brain and interrupt their functions.

Long-term sleep issues can all lead to more intense, physical and mood-related symptoms. But not only that. Chronic lack of sleep can easily sustain a cycle of depression.

Part of this cycle is how depression affects sleep, to begin with. A lack of sleep and depression are linked because when you’re depressed, it’s difficult to put your mind at ease. 

Many people who struggle with depression harbor feelings of guilt, shame, hopelessness, and sadness. Imagine trying to sleep with all of that weighing on your mind. And if you already know you have trouble sleeping, you might even start to focus on those troubles, which makes it even harder to fall asleep.

In the end, as depression hinders sleep, it causes more and more sleep deprivation which, in turn, fuels depression symptoms which leads to more lack of sleep, and so on. As you can see, this vicious cycle can be a difficult one to escape.

Treating Sleep Issues and Depression

In order to treat a lack of sleep and depression, it’s important to first look at the mental health condition. If your depression is causing sleep deprivation, getting to the bottom of the condition will provide the most help.

Depression can be treated in a variety of different ways. Some people take prescription medications to help with regulating the chemicals in their brain. If you’re having trouble sleeping, your doctor might also prescribe a sleep aid to help ease you out of that vicious cycle.

Sometimes, simple lifestyle changes can also help you to get more sleep, even with depression. Try some of the following on your own to help ease you into a better night’s sleep:

  • Meditation/deep breathing exercises
  • Physical exercise/yoga
  • Avoid looking at electronics before bed
  • No caffeine in the evenings
  • A white noise machine

If you’re still having trouble sleeping and you think it’s due to your depression, therapy or counseling can be very effective.

Depression therapy is designed to get you out of the cycle of lack of sleep and depression. It can also help you to manage any other symptoms of depression you might be struggling with on a daily basis.

By discovering the underlying cause(s) of your condition, you and your therapist can start working on different ways of managing it effectively so you can feel a sense of peace and comfort again. Over time, those feelings of hopelessness and sadness will go away.  Depression is treatable with the right kind of therapy and your willingness to open up.

If you’d like to learn more about depression therapy or you want to set up an appointment, please feel free to contact us or learn more about depression therapy by clicking HERE.

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