Coping with sleep disturbances during depression

Dealing with sleep disorders when you feel depressed seems to be a vicious cycle. The more depressed you are, the harder it is to fall asleep. The more exhausted you feel, the harder it is to fight depression.

It feels like there is no way to break this cycle. It is frustrating to feel tired but unable to fall asleep or stay asleep. Regarding the relationship between sleep disorders and depression, you should know the following.

The link between sleep disorders and depression

About 80% of people with depression will experience sleep disturbances. Some people have difficulty falling asleep, and some have difficulty falling asleep. Some people find that they sleep too much.

Both depression and insomnia are related to chemicals in the brain. Changes in neurotransmitters and hormonal imbalances may affect sleep and mood.

For years, researchers have been studying which comes first: depression or insomnia. Obviously, these two issues are often complementary and exacerbate each other.

Studies have shown that sleep disorders usually occur before depression begins.Experiencing insomnia before feeling depressed may increase the severity of depression.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine now encourages treatment providers to pay close attention to whether insomnia needs to be identified as a separate disease, rather than just treating it as a symptom of depression.

Health risks associated with depression and sleep disorders

If left untreated, depression and sleep disorders can damage your health. A 2010 study found that lack of sleep is associated with a higher risk of premature death.Insufficient sleep increases the risk of heart disease and failure, heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and obesity.

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Depression constricts blood vessels, which may increase your risk of heart disease. People with depression may experience weakened immune systems, pain, and fatigue.

Talk to your doctor

Difficulty sleeping may stem from an underlying medical condition, such as obstructive sleep apnea. Restless legs syndrome and bruxism (brix teeth) can also affect sleep. These medical problems may worsen sleep problems or cause depression.

It is very important to discuss with your doctor any sleep problems or symptoms of depression you are experiencing. Your doctor can assess whether you have an underlying health problem that is causing your condition.

See the therapist

Talk therapy helps control the symptoms of depression, including sleep disturbances. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can effectively treat insomnia and depression. For sleep problems, the therapist may help you change your habits, such as getting up when you cannot fall asleep and getting up at a specific time every morning to help you sleep better at night.

A cognitive behavioral therapist can also help you change your self-talk. For example, thinking that you are helpless and hopeless can complicate your symptoms. Redefining negative self-talk can help you feel better and help you sleep better.

Medications also help

Medications can also be used to treat insomnia and depression. A doctor or psychiatrist can help determine which medicine is best for you and which symptoms should be treated first.

Develop good sleep hygiene habits

Good sleep hygiene can also help you sleep longer and sleep better. Some changes to your daily habits and bedtime can make a big difference.

Press Play for advice on sleep hygiene

This episode of The VigorTip Mind podcast hosted by LCSW’s editor and therapist Amy Morin, starring neurologist and sleep expert Chris Winter, shares strategies for sleeping better at night. Click below to listen now.

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Avoid drinking alcohol

A glass of wine or a finger of brandy is often used as a tool for relaxation and as a way to cope with anxiety or depression. However, drinking alcohol can disrupt your sleep patterns, so you are more likely to wake up at night.

While drinking a glass of wine while you fall asleep may help, it doesn’t help much to stay asleep all night or feel rested the next day.

Meditation and relaxation

Depression can cause you to think repeatedly — thinking about the same things over and over again — which can make you sleepless at night. Meditation strategies or other relaxation exercises can help you calm down and prepare you to fall asleep.

These may include yoga or deep abdominal breathing. Spend about an hour before going to bed to relax by turning off all electronic devices, take a hot bath or soak, and then decompress to prepare to fall asleep.

Log about your concerns

If your worries or repeated negative thoughts do not disappear through relaxation strategies, find a notebook and write down disturbing thoughts. When your brain thinks about them again and again, it contains thoughts that may keep you awake.

You can even designate some time before going to bed as your designated “worry time” so that you can really clear your mind.

get up

If you are not tired, don’t just lie there tossing and turning. Get up, go to another room, and do some relaxing activities, such as reading.

Avoid using anything with a screen, such as a mobile phone or laptop. Studies have shown that the blue light emitted by these devices interferes with normal circadian rhythms and may cause further sleep disturbances.

When you feel drowsy, go back to bed, hoping this will be a more successful sleep attempt.

Spend time outside during the day

Spending time in natural light during the day can help regulate your circadian rhythm. The internal biological clock that regulates the sleep-wake cycle is affected by light; when there is insufficient light at night, your body releases melatonin.

In the morning, the sun will prompt your brain and body to wake up. If you stay indoors in the dark, you may have sleep problems. Regular exercise can also help solve sleep problems and depression, provided that you do not exercise immediately before going to bed.

Very good sentence

Depression and sleep difficulties are definitely a challenge. But seeking professional help is the key to feeling better.

When you feel less depressed, you may find that you sleep better. Or, you may find that sleep better relieves your depression. Both conditions are treatable and can be improved with professional support.