Having issues with sleep when feeling depressed can seem like a vicious cycle. The more depressed you may feel, the more difficult it is to sleep. At the same time, the more tired and exhausted you feel, the harder it is to fight symptoms of depression.
You may feel like there’s no way to break the cycle. It’s frustrating to feel so tired yet not fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. Here’s what you need to know about how depression and sleep issues are related.
How are sleep issues and depression related?
About 80% of people with depression have issues with sleep. While some find t more difficult to fall asleep, others struggle to stay asleep. Or, you may find yourself sleeping too much.
Both insomnia and depression involve chemicals in your brain. Changes in hormone imbalances and neurotransmitters can affect both your sleep and your mood.
For years, researchers studied which one of these factors came first: depression or insomnia. It was clear that the two issues often go hand-in-hand and exacerbate one another.
Studies now show that sleep issues often occur before depression sets in. experiencing insomnia before feeling depressed can increase the severity of depressive symptoms.
How you can develop good sleep hygiene
Practicing good sleep hygiene habits can help you improve the quality and quantity of sleep and improve your physical and mental health. A few changes to your daily habits and bedtime routine can make a significant difference. Here are a few to consider;
Avoid alcohol. A glass of wine can be used as a tool for relaxation to wind down at the end of a long day, but too much alcohol consumption can disrupt your sleeping patterns. You’re more likely to wake up during the night. While you may feel like it helps you fall asleep, it’s not going to help you stay asleep throughout the night or help you feel refreshed the next day.
Relax and meditate. Depression can cause you to contemplate and worry—thinking about the same things repeatedly—which untimely keeps you up longer at night. Meditation and relaxation strategies can help calm your mind and get you ready to fall asleep.
These might include yoga or belly breathing. Take about an hour before bedtime to wind down by turning off all your electronics, taking a warm shower or bath, or decompressing in preparation for sleep.
Journal about your worries. If your worrisome thoughts aren’t going away with a few relaxation strategies, find a journal and write down whatever you’re thinking about. Whatever thoughts are being repeated in your mind, write them down. You may even choose to designate a bit of time before bed as your designated “worry time” so you can clear your mind.
Get up and out of bed. If you’re not tired, don’t lie there tossing and turning. Get up and out of bed, go into another room, do a dull, light activity like reading for a few minutes, and When you feel drowsy, go back to bed for what will hopefully be a more successful attempt at sleeping.
Avoid using anything with a screen, like your phone or computer. Research suggests that the blue light from these devices can interfere with your normal circadian rhythms and cause further disturbances.
Get outside during the day. Spending some time in natural light during the day can help regulate your circadian rhythm. Your internal biological clock that works to regulate your sleep-wake cycle is influenced by light, so when there’s less light at night, your body releases melatonin.
In the morning, the sun tells your brain and body to wake up. If you’re spending all of your time inside in the dark, you may suffer from sleep problems. Regular exercise can also be helpful for sleep issues and depression, as long as it’s not done right before you go to bed.
Finding additional help
Depression and sleep difficulties are challenging for anyone to overcome. However, seeking professional help is key to feeling better.
You might find you sleep better when you are feeling less depressed. Or, you may find sleeping better eases your depression. Both conditions are treatable, and they can get better with professional support.
Help is available for depression at Abbey Neuropsychology Clinic. The team at Abbey Neuropsychology Clinic specializes in many therapeutic techniques that effectively help people with depression. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and problem-solving therapy are just a few examples of approaches that help people with depression.
We work to put your worries about opening up to rest by providing a comfortable location and atmosphere. We’re now offering virtual appointments in California, Washington, Texas.Contact us today to learn more.