Are you depressed – or just sleepy?

You have been feeling lethargic, low mood, lack of concentration, and dislike doing anything that has brought you joy in the past. During the day you can barely keep your eyes open, but at night you are fully awake the moment your head hits the pillow.

This is a very common condition, as sleep deprivation and depression often go together. The good news is that treating one disease can have spillover effects on another.

Insomnia and Depression

Depression can stem from any sleep disorder that causes chronic fatigue and mood problems. But insomnia, the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, is the sleep disorder most commonly associated with depression.

“If you track people who have insomnia and no history of depression, they’re four times more likely,” said R. Robert Auger, a sleep specialist at the Mayo Sleep Medicine Center in Rochester, Minnesota. This increased risk is even Still around decades later.

Which came first, sleep deprivation or depression?

“For people with severe insomnia and major depression, it’s often difficult to tell which comes first First,” says Mark Mahowald, MD, director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Hennepin County. “Lack of sleep can impair mood, and impaired mood can lead to impaired sleep quality and quantity. “

According to Auger, the relationship between sleep and depression is not fully understood. “But there is a clear link between sleep deprivation and physical and mental health,” Auger said. “Sleep and exercise and nutrition As important. Sleep is non-negotiable. “

How Treating Insomnia Improves Depression

The first step in improving sleep is diagnosing and treating sleep disorders and/or underlying depression. “If you treat insomnia in a depressed patient Symptoms, you’ll improve their chances of getting relief from depression,” Auger said.

Your PCP may teach you some sleep habits that can help with your insomnia. In some cases Your doctor may treat insomnia with prescription sleep aids. Some people will respond to them. Others may not, and if they have another underlying sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea, will also deprive them of Quality sleep.

Your PCP may also refer you to a sleep specialist.

See a sleep specialist

A sleep specialist will perform a thorough evaluation and sleep studies to monitor you during your sleep and then develop a treatment plan.

Your better sleep treatment plan may include medication and good sleep hygiene techniques – the things that prepare your body for sleep Methods. Avoiding caffeine after lunch, not drinking alcohol within six hours of bedtime, not smoking, or using any type of nicotine product before bed are some sleep hygiene techniques. Experts can also teach you relaxation techniques and cognitive therapy to learn to use positive The idea of in lieu of sleep distress.

“We also use a very powerful technique called ‘stimulus control,’” Auger said. Essentially, stimulus control is a way to limit your Behavioral techniques for time spent in bed.

“It teaches people to sleep and have sex in the bedroom, and if they can, leave the bedroom after about 20 minutes” not to fall asleep and to engage in relaxing activities,” he said. “It can be as powerful as a drug and may be more effective in the long run.”

Treatment of depression to improve insomnia

“Insomnia may precede depressive episodes or increase having depression people with a history of relapse, but treating insomnia can improve depression outcomes,” agreed Dr. Jason Ong, director of the Rush University Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the Chicago Medical Center.

But it’s also important to address depression, which may exist independently of sleep problems, Ong said. If you think you have depression, be sure to discuss it with your doctor, who can help you decide if it should be treated as part of your sleep therapy.

Depression in some ants may also lead to insomnia. In this case, your doctor or sleep specialist can investigate other options. “Try to find an antidepressant that has a sedative effect,” Ong said. “Alternatively, if the antidepressant that works best for you is causing insomnia, you can take it in the morning instead of at night.”

Susan Zafarlotfi, Ph.D., Hackensack, Clinical Director, National Institute of Sleep and Wakefulness Disorders The University Medical Center uses insomnia as a clue to other problems when evaluating new patients.

“Insomnia is one of the ways to identify depression, and I make sure all my patients are screened for depression and anxiety,” Zafarlotfi said. “We need to address sleep problems and depression. It doesn’t matter which comes first.”