Understanding the link between sleep deprivation and depression

Understanding the link between sleep deprivation and depression

Most adults need seven or more hours of sleep and those who claim to get on with fewer hours of sleep are only deceiving themselves. One may not get enough sleep because of a range of reasons, such as the prevalence of a mental disorder, working overnight or on a rotating shift, unemployment or stress at a job, traveling between different time zones, etc.

Since sleep plays a vital role in the maintenance of good health and well-being, sleep deprivation is dangerous to both physical and mental health. In fact, the deficiency of sleep has the potential to impair a person’s cognitive-behavioral skills, such as the way a person thinks, reacts, works, learns, etc. Of the many types of sleep disorders, insomnia has emerged as a leading primary and comorbid condition among people.

Insomnia can be defined as the difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, even when a person has the chance to do so. People with insomnia can feel dissatisfied with their sleep and may experience fatigue, low energy, mood disturbances, difficulty in concentration, decreased performance in work or at school, etc. Moreover, insomnia is one of the key characteristics of mental disorders like depression. In fact, insomnia has been identified as both a symptom and cause of depression.

According to an old study, people with insomnia have a ten-fold risk of suffering from clinical depression in comparison to those who have a good sleep. Moreover, people who have insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness) are more likely to suffer from long-lasting depression. In fact, sleep deprivation may lead to depression due to the neurochemical changes that may occur in the brain. Also, a short sleep may also result in depressive symptoms which may invariably be one of the causes of depression.

The National Sleep Foundation highlights that people with depression may suffer from different insomnia symptoms like having difficulty in falling asleep (sleep onset insomnia), difficulty in staying asleep (sleep maintenance insomnia), and daytime sleepiness.

Insomnia linked to depression and anxiety

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder in the U.S. The results of a 2016 study released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that more than one-third of the American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. More women are affected by insomnia than men and the older people get, the more vulnerable they become to this disorder.

In a 1989 study, it was found that 40 percent of individuals with insomnia had a co-occurring psychiatric condition. In another study, it was found that insomnia was a predictor of mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse/dependence and suicide. The concurrence between insomnia and development of depression within one to three years was seen remarkably strong in another study. Many other studies point to a possible relationship between insomnia and psychiatric disorders.

Although the presence of a sleep disorder by itself may not cause depression, the lack of sleep itself could be an indicator of mental health issues. Insomnia could be an early indicator of a depressive or anxiety disorder. Likewise, insomnia might also occur individually or as a co-occurring disorder caused due to a psychiatric condition.

Insomnia and depression treatable via timely intervention

Getting sufficient sleep is not a luxury—it is a necessity—and should be regarded as a vital sign of good health. Therefore, it is very crucial to treat the underlying causes of insomnia to ensure both mental and physical well-being. It is a misconception that a person can make up on his or her lost sleep during the weekend. Moreover, since sleep deprivation can cause depression or be a symptom of depression, it is important to seek medical advice to identify the comorbidity and administer necessary treatment.

If you or your loved one is showing the signs of depression, contact the Arizona Depression Helpline to locate the best depression rehab centers in Arizona. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-233-3895 or chat online to get details about the depression treatment programs in Arizona.