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Depression More Likely in People with Sleep Disorders

CONTENT WARNING: Suicide and self-harm are discussed on this page. If you are worried about your safety or feel overwhelmed by your mental health, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to receive free and confidential support.

Once a taboo topic, open and frank conversations about depression and its damaging impact are essential to public health and safety. After all, as shared by the National Network of Depression Centers, depression is the leading disability in ages 15-44 in the United States. It affects over 17 million adults each year, with suicide taking the lives of over 41,000 people per year.

If you suspect that a loved one suffers from depression, they may be experiencing the following symptoms memory impairment; constant fatigue; self-harm; suicidal ideation; suffering from insomnia; binge eating or appetite loss; uncharacteristic mood changes; loss of interest in things that formerly brought them joy, including intimacy; persistently sad; chronic physical pain; expresses consistent pessimistic feelings.

There is no one reason why depression, a complex disease that impacts a person’s mood, takes shape, but there are a few risk factors that are generally grouped together, as explained by Psychiatry.org:

  1. Biochemistry: An imbalance in certain brain chemicals can result in depression.
  2. Genetics: Mental illness can be passed down from parents to children.
  3. Personality: There are certain personality characteristics that result in an individual being more at risk for developing depression.
  4. Environmental factors: Abuse, neglect, abandonment, and violence can all attribute to a person developing depression.

The Link Between Sleep & Depression

According to Hopkins Medicine, 75% of people with depression have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Poor sleep and depression are interconnected, with each causing the other to worsen,

Sleep disorders can exacerbate mental illness because they interrupt important portions of the sleep cycle that regulate mood stabilization, memory, and emotional competency.

Similarly, depression can exacerbate, and possibly even cause, sleep disorders because of the emotional stress and imbalanced sleep cycles (from excessive napping and fatigue) that result from the condition.

If a sleep disorder is the root of an individual’s depression, treating that sleep disorder is essential to getting their mental health back on track. Talking to a sleep specialist, such as Sleep Dallas’ Dr. Dibra or Dr. Smith, is the first step to learning more about the sleep disorder you’re suffering from, and how to go about treating it.

To schedule an appointment with our board-certified sleep specialists,please click here.