Insomnia and Depression: The Chicken or The Egg?

Insomnia and depression - which comes first.

Which came first? The insomnia or the depression?

There has now been an established link between insomnia and depression! A comorbidity between not sleeping and mental issues. Recent evidence suggests that people with insomnia have a ten-fold risk of developing depression compared with those who sleep well. In other words, there is a close relationship between insomnia, depression, and anxiety.

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“About three-quarters of depressed patients have insomnia symptoms, and hypersomnia is present in about 40% of depressed young adults and 10% of older patients, with a preponderance of females. The symptoms cause huge distress, have a major impact on quality of life, and are a strong risk factor for suicide. As well as the subjective experience of sleep symptoms, there are well-documented changes in objective sleep architecture in depression. Mechanisms of sleep regulation and how they might be disturbed in depression are discussed. The sleep symptoms are often unresolved by treatment and confer a greater risk of relapse and recurrence. Epidemiological studies have pointed out that insomnia in nondepressed subjects is a risk factor for later development of depression. There is, therefore, a need for more successful management of sleep disturbance in depression, to improve the quality of life in these patients and reduce an important factor in depressive relapse and recurrence.”

Recognize the Signs

A need for successful management of sleep disturbance is a solution and awareness is the first step.

The symptons of poor sleep include the following:

  • Waking up tired
  • More easily frustrated on projects
  • Less patient with others
  • Slower reflexes
  • Lower creativity

The benefits of a good sleep (in addition to improved mental health) are:

  • Waking up refreshed
  • More patience with others and ourselves
  • Ability to focus for longer periods of time

“The battle is won the night before.”

Practical Tips:

  • Don’t get beat up if you don’t go to bed early. Try again the next day.
  • See if you can do two nights in a row going to bed at a reasonable time. Then shoot for three nights.
  • Turn off screens at least an hour before bed. Get into your pajamas, make some tea. Get some good books to read in bed as you wind down.
  • Stay away from caffeine after 5. (this includes sweet tea, my southern friends!)
  • Reward yourself for recovery. Give yourself a treat as a goal (as long as it’s not a late night watching of a program).

“A failure to plan is a plan to fail.”

Staying awake at night can be like a drug, an addiction, which creates a circle for issues like depression. Some clients feel bad focusing on themselves instead of their loves ones, I encourage them not to feel guilty about addressing their needs. Self-care is a form of self-love, and the better we love ourselves, the better we can even help others.

Need more answers concerning insomnia and depression? Steve Brand, a counselor in Roswell, is an empathetic listener helping individuals and couples cope in today’s changing world.