What Happens If I Have Sleep Deprivation And Depression?

Updated August 27, 2020

Many people that have depression also experience sleep deprivation. Since insomnia is a common side effect of depression, it is often an indicator of something else going on. When you have both insomnia and depression, your body and mind might respond to it in various ways. In fact, some less reputable sources claim that sleep deprivation can be used to treat depression. Other, medically backed sources indicate that sleep deprivation can lead to depression, just as depression can lead to sleep deprivation.

If you have either sleep deprivation, depression, or both, seeking out the assistance of a counselor or therapist may be helpful. Counseling can help you to understand why you are not sleeping, what you can do to fix it, and how to handle your depressive thoughts and feelings productively. The options for counseling are many, so explore the possibilities and choose a form that might work best for you.

What Qualifies As Sleep Deprivation?

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Medically, sleep deprivation is the result of not getting enough sleep. Adult sleep is often deprived at less than 6 hours per night. Sleep deprivation is different from sleep deficiency, which includes sleeping during the day, the inability to sleep well, and/ or sleep apnea or other sleep disorders. Although sleep deficiency can lead to poor side effects, sleep deprivation can cause lasting health concerns.

Symptoms Of Sleep Deprivation

Daytime sleepiness is the most common symptom of sleep deprivation. However, many other symptoms can become present. These include irritability and moodiness, clumsiness, trouble with learning or memorization, inability to concentrate, an increase in appetite, cravings for carbohydrates and salty foods, no motivation, forgetfulness, and a depressed mood. These symptoms, among others, can result in a varied number of effects, ranging from minor to severe.

Effects Of Sleep Deprivation

When sleep deprivation becomes constant, lasting effects can make a home in your body and mind. Safety becomes an issue when sleep deprivation takes hold due to the increased possibility of automobile accidents. In fact, 6000 car accidents are the result of tired drivers each year. Sleep deprivation also leads to high blood pressure, a greater risk of colorectal cancer, diabetes, and a poor immune system. Additionally, sleep deprivation can age your brain by up to 5 years and ads to the risk of dementia.

Other mental health concerns can take hold when sleep deprivation occurs. Depression, anxiety, and worsening depressive states are often present when sleep is not. For those with existing concerns regarding their mental health, sleep should be a priority. Sleep deprivation, coupled with depression, can be a lot to handle.

What Qualifies As Depression?

Depression, or major depressive disorder, is a mental illness that not only makes you feel sad but can also have an impact on how you think and the actions you take. Although sadness is a common symptom, there is much more to depression than feeling sad. Understanding the symptoms of depression, how it can affect you, and what it has to do with sleep deprivation can help to determine the best route for treatment.

Symptoms Of Depression

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Those with depression tend to feel several symptoms associated with mental illness, but not necessarily all of them. For example, people with depression and anxiety sleep drastically more or less than those free of mental disorders. They also can feel hopeless, anxious, irritable, guilt, or worthless. Depression can cause a lack of interest in activities that you once enjoyed, including hobbies, sports, and even sex. The inability to concentrate, a lack of appetite or binge eating, and physical pains can all be symptoms of depression as well.

More severe cases of depression can cause thoughts of self-harm or suicide. If this is the case for you, please reach out for help as soon as possible. The symptoms of depression and depression itself can lead to effects that are far more permanent over time.

Effects Of Depression

There are various effects of depression, from life changes to health concerns. Depression can cause problems with work, school, relationships, and other responsibilities. For example, an individual with depression can feel it impossible to attend work on a day-to-day basis. It can become an overwhelming task to get out of bed each day, leaving all parts of regular life neglected. Even relationships with those you live with can become strained. Although these effects can be difficult, the effects on your health can be just as hard.

Some of the common effects of depression in a physical aspect include chronic body pain, headaches, and other pains that are unresponsive to medication. Depression can also be accompanied by multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and epilepsy. Obesity, diabetes, and heart disease can also be long-term effects of depression.

How Does Sleep Deprivation Effect Depression?

Depression and sleep deprivation can have many of the same effects. However, when the two are present simultaneously, the effects can be more pronounced. Daytime sleepiness can cause difficulties in daily life, just as depression does. With the two compounding issues, those difficulties will only be amplified. For many individuals suffering from both sleep deprivation and depression, the symptoms can feel never-ending.

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For instance, someone that is unable to sleep well might struggle with focusing at work. That same person that suffers from depression might additionally feel irritable and worthless. With so many symptoms working against them, they may feel that getting better is impossible. It is important to know that there are ways to improve your sleep and depression.

How Can I Improve Sleep And My Depression?

The treatment options for insomnia and depression include a long list of traditional and non-traditional methods. From therapy to medication to natural remedies, both sleep and depression can see improvement with the right treatment for you. Daytime sleep cannot always be treated in the same way; there are a number of considerations that must be made on a case-by-case basis. Depression is most commonly treated with therapy and medication, but each individual must be considered when it comes to choosing a treatment for mental illness as well. Knowing your options is the best place to start to obtain the best treatment for you.

Therapy As A Treatment Option

Therapy, or counseling, is a common treatment option for both insomnia and depression. At its root, therapy is the idea of assisting patients in processing their thoughts, restructuring how they think, and helping them to take control of their actions in a more productive manner. Luckily, this generation does not have to be subjected to the past’s way of therapy. While therapy was still effective before technological improvements, the modern-day has provided patients with various approaches to therapy.

Traditionally, therapy was an in-person activity in which a patient spoke to a therapist or group of patients in a face-to-face setting. Thanks to technology, patients can now use video chat, online messenger, texting, or phone calls for their therapy sessions. Although an individual might struggle with leaving their home, he or she can still attend sessions with the aid of an at-home internet connection or phone.

Sleep deprivation can be helped with therapy by determining the cause of the sleep disorder. Therapy then works to solve the root problem. Depression is also approached in the same way: what is the root of the depression? Uncovering the main issue helps individuals to begin to work through their problems. Those problems can be helped with additional methods alongside therapy, though that is often something that should be discussed with your medical provider.

Medicinal Treatment Options

Medication as a treatment option for sleep deprivation and depression can be effective. There are supplements, such as melatonin, that can assist in getting sleep. There are also prescribed sleep medications that a doctor can recommend to get the required amount of sleep. Antidepressants are another medication that can help, particularly with depression.

While medication can be effective, it is important to remember that they often attack the symptoms of sleep deprivation and depression. They do not tend to heal the issue that causes these disorders. Because of this, it’s best if all medication changes go through a doctor. Decreasing or increasing dosage or stopping the medication altogether can have dangerous side effects that can worsen the disorders.

Natural Treatment Possibilities

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Many individuals feel most comfortable with natural treatments. Although they are not as widely recommended as other forms of treatment, many patients have experienced relief from natural methods. Sunlight, for example, is a great way to help with both sleep deprivation and depression. Daily exposure to natural light can help to regulate your body’s internal clock and boost your mood. Meditation is another common recommendation for both sleep and depression. It allows individuals to relax their minds and ready themselves for sleep, in addition to ridding themselves of the negative thoughts that tend to come with depression.

Sleep Deprivation And Depression

Finding the best treatment option for you is something that should be discussed with your mental health professional or medical doctor. If you are experiencing poor adult sleep, restless anxiety sleep, regular daytime sleepiness, or poor health sleep in conjunction with depression, reaching out for professional help is likely the best way to determine how to get better. Improving your sleep can improve your depression, and improving your depression can make your sleep better. Take the leap into treatment and feel more rested and happier with life sooner rather than later.

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