Depression is a serious mental health condition that affects an estimated 20 million Americans. It’s marked by feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, anxiety, disinterest, guilt, sadness, and emptiness. Due to the feelings that are associated with depression, those who suffer from it often experience difficulties with their personal relationships, weight gain or loss, and can have a hard time maintaining a job. It can also lead to sleep problems, including insomnia or an increased desire to sleep.
The connection between sleep and depression is a complex one. It can contribute to sleep issues, and sleep problems can also contribute to depression. For some individuals, the symptoms of depression can manifest before sleep problems arise. For others, issues with sleep develop before the symptoms of depression occur.
Depression isn’t something that a person can simply ignore or will to go away. The condition and the symptoms that are associated with it need to be treated in order to overcome depression. And even with treatment, bouts of depression can continue. For that reason, it is important for anyone who is suffering from this mental health condition to seek treatment and keep up with it – even after they are starting to feel like their symptoms are waning.
Treatments for depression vary and are determined on a case-by-case basis. That is, each person differs and one type of treatment may work for one person, whereas that same treatment approach will not be effective for someone else. Furthermore, it can be process of trial and error. That is, several approaches may need to be tried before finding one that actually offers any significant impact.
Some of the most common treatments for depression include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Antidepressant medications, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, and mood stabilizing anticonvulsants
- Breathing exercises
Research has also suggested that insomnia can be an effective remedy for depression – sleep deprivation therapy. However, while sleep deprivation therapy may be effective, the results are only short-term. To actually treat depression and see long-term results, getting an adequate amount of sleep is necessary. In fact, several studies have found that to effectively treat depression, treating the insomnia that accompanies it is necessary.
How Sleep Treats Depression
According to a recent scientific study, it was found that when people who suffered from depression experienced insomnia and their insomnia was treated, they saw a significant improvement in their depression symptoms. This study essentially stated that getting depressed people to sleep is an effective way to make them stop feeling depressed.
Why does sleep positively impact depression? – The science on that is still being debated; however, there are a number of reasons why sleep may positively affect the symptoms that are associated with this mental health condition.
During sleep, the body produces hormones and other chemicals that can combat stress, such as serotonin. When a person is sleep deprived, the production of these hormones and chemicals declines significantly, which can give rise to the feelings of depression. Therefore, a lack of sleep may contribute to the development of depression, but it can also make the symptoms worse.
Furthermore, sleep helps to boost the body’s immunity and makes it more adaptable and resilient. As such, a person who is battling depression may be better able to cope with their depression symptoms.
Given the positive effects that sleep can have on depression, if you are suffering from this condition, it is important to get more sleep. If you find that your depression is making it difficult to fall asleep, using sleep products could improve your sleep – as well as your depression.