Most people realize that one of the major causes of insomnia is depression. Did you know that sleep deprivation can lead to depression?
When you’re worried and stressed about life it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep. Insomnia sets in and you toss and turn worrying about the bills, the kids, the job etc.
You may be asking … What’s the link between insomnia and depression?
You may think a person suffering from depression sleeps all day because they do not want to leave their bedroom. That is rarely the case.
Studies show that more than 80% of depressed people do not get enough sleep. While they tend to get about 6 hours of sleep a night, it’s still enough of a loss to be considered sleep deprivation.
One of the indicators of depression is waking up in middle of the night and not being able to fall back to sleep.
Does this mean if you treat the depression that the insomnia will go away?
Probably not. Recent studies show that insomnia starts the cycle – not the depression.
Many patients with clinical depression report that insomnia began for up to five weeks prior to experiencing the symptoms of depression. Treating insomnia at its onset is believed to reduce the chance of depression.
Once depression sets in, it will begin to feed on sleep deprivation. Thus, a vicious cycle begins for the depressed person. They can’t sleep, which makes them more depressed, which results in lack of sleep …
Even though insomnia does not cause depression, current research is pointing to the fact that treating insomnia can actually reduce depressive episodes for a person diagnosed with clinical depression.
Research shows that depression affects the quality as well as the quantity of sleep. Depressed people often have a short and barely existent early stage of sleep. Their brain skips forward to REM sleep instead of going through the normal stages of sleep.
REM is the type of sleep that lets us deal with our emotions and convert memories. For some reason depressed people tend to stay in this stage longer than others.
People who are suffering from depression may convert memories incorrectly and store them negatively. Researchers believe that a person can have this type of sleep even if they are not depressed.
Their brain also tends to stay in this stage longer than non depressed people. Besides skipping important and vital stages of sleep, depressed people may get different effects from REM sleep than non depressed people. They tend to convert memories incorrectly and put them in a more negative light. Researchers also think that depressed people and their families have this type of REM sleep even if they are not depressed.
The exact relationship between sleep, insomnia and depression has not been completely determined. It is obvious that there is a definite link between the two conditions. If you are prone to depression and are experiencing insomnia, you should seek professional treatment immediately.