Sleep Deprivation and Depression: What’s the Link?

sleep deprivation and depression

Scientists and researchers have been working for decades to find out if any connection exists between depression and sleep deprivation. There is an unknown link between the two which makes it difficult to judge whether it’s the depression which causes sleep deprivation or vice versa. But the thing which we may experience every day is that every person suffering from any one of them carries the symptoms for the other two.

Before we proceed to analyze the symptoms, causes, and effects of each one of them, it seems better to see what is meant by depression and sleep deprivation when someone refers them to.


Depression can be referred to as a continuous feeling of hopelessness, sadness, rejection, and anxiety. One feels no purpose of his existence and finds no interest in activities people usually perform to enjoy. This feeling doesn’t include any such occasional beliefs, but if it prolongs to duration more than two weeks or more, it’s considered to be depression.

Symptoms of Depression:

Some major symptoms of depression are:

  • Loss of sleep (Insomnia) or hypersomnia
  • Weight loss (in some cases weight gain as well)
  • Lack of concentration
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Negative thinking
  • Feeling rejected and loss of purposefulness
  • Loss of creativity and inability to make decisions
  • Trying to avoid people and social gatherings
  • Frequent agitation in mood
  • Thinking of suicide or planning to do sosleep deprivation and depression - depressed man

Sleep Deprivation:

It refers to a condition when the human body is not getting enough sleep. Insomnia is referred to the problem of staying asleep or falling asleep, whereas hypersomnia refers to a condition in which feels excessive dizziness and sleepiness during the daytime. The reason for both is insufficient night sleep due to any of the related causes.


Some of the frequently observed symptoms of sleep deprivation are

  • Depression
  • Forgetting things or events
  • Frequent mood changes
  • Feeling irritated
  • Agitated behavior
  • Feeling sleepy
  • Increase in appetite
  • Motivation to do things is lost
  • Disinterest in marital relationship
  • Lack of concentration

The most known symptom of sleep deprivation is the “sleepy” behavior during the whole day. Some facts on sleep deprivation show that it actually limits the ability of the brain to control emotions. This effect also seems prominent when we observe changes in mood, concentration, and appetite.

A link between Depression and Sleep deprivation:

Researchers have observed the fact that continuous lack of a good night sleep drags a person to depression. Similarly, a person suffering from depression finds it difficult to sleep. We can see that symptoms of both of these mostly overlap and it’s very difficult at times to differentiate between the two or to conclude which of them is the cause and which one is the result.

In most of the practical cases, both of them go side by side, and the physicians also treat them likewise. Improvement in any of them is reinforced by a development in the other. As we already discussed the symptoms of each of them, we can see that both share most of them.sleep deprivation is the reason for depression

As sleeping is considered to be restoration phase of the body, it can be concluded that depression and sleep deprivation are part of an endless cycle in which each of them is affecting or reinforcing the other.

Treating Sleep Deprivation helps Depressed Patients:

In most of the cases, if a physician finds the indications of both depression and sleep deprivation in a patient, they treat it with same medications. Usually, an antidepressant and SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) is prescribed for the treatment of both.

Treatment of sleeping disorders helps to regain the customarily needed sleep routine which not only improves the symptoms related to sleep deprivation but also for depression. As a result, the patient can clearly be observed as getting better by an improvement in mood and elevated level of concentration.

Tips for a Good Night Sleep:

We have tried to help you in getting a good night’s sleep by preparing a list of few tips such as,

  • Try to make a routine of going to bed daily at a given time; once your body gets used to it then you will be inclined to sleep at that given time
  • Exercise daily
  • Avoid anything which disturbs you in getting a sleep
  • Try to get a short nap whenever you feel a bit tired. Even during office hours if you feel the need you can use the lunch break for the purpose. A nap of 15-20 minutes will boost your mood.
  • Stop using electronic gadgets an hour before going to bed
  • Drink water
  • Try to keep your bedroom free from electronic devices
  • Keep your room dark and quiet. Avoid and remove anything which distracts you or affects your sleeping routine
  • Avoid late night dinner or drinking. Keep at least a gap of 2-3 hours between dinner and bedtime.sleep is the cure for depression

You will definitely benefit from these tips, it will be tough in the start, but once you get into a routine, it will be part of your biological clock and getting good sleep will not be a problem anymore. And that too without any medication, but still after these tips you feel that you are not getting the results than consult your medical practitioner at the earliest so that medical assistance may be provided as necessary.

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