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Can Sleep Deprivation Make You Depressed

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How To Catch Up On Lost Sleep

Is Sleep Deprivation Linked to Depression/Anxiety?

If you don’t get enough sleep, there’s only one way to compensate getting more sleep.

It won’t happen with a single early night. If you’ve had months of restricted sleep, you’ll have built up a significant sleep debt, so expect recovery to take several weeks.

Starting on a weekend, try to add on an extra hour or 2 of sleep a night. The way to do this is to go to bed when you’re tired, and allow your body to wake you in the morning .

You might sleep up to 10 hours a night at first. After a while, the amount of time you sleep will gradually decrease to a normal level.

Don’t rely on caffeine or energy drinks as a short-term pick-me-up. They may boost your energy and concentration in the short term, but can disrupt your sleep patterns even further in the long term.

Page last reviewed: 5 August 2021 Next review due: 5 August 2024

Is Sleep Deprivation Making You Suicidal

Recently, right before the Christmas holidays, a 27-year-old woman with a promising future as an investment banking associate at Citi Global Markets and a committed local philanthropist jumped to her death from an Upper West Side apartment building in New York City, blocks from where she lived.

Although police said that the victim, Jessica Fashano, was undergoing treatment for depression, friends and family members were stunned, because, as both The Huffington Postand and The New York Times reported, she was always in high spirits, had a big heart and was committed to doing charity work.

Years ago, around this time — near the Christmas holidays — a close friend of mine, who, like Fashano, was seeking treatment for depression, also committed suicide.

I’m now particularly touched and saddened whenever I hear about someone’s self-inflicted death, even if holiday suicides are a myth

Clearly, a number of things contribute to person being depressed or suicidal.

Often, I speak about the connection between sugar consumption and mood swings. In fact, I delved into it in detail in my book, “Sugar Shock.” And, of course, you may have heard about the connection between taking antidepressant medications and becoming suicidal. But today I’d like to bring up another connection about which you may not be aware.

A Better Nights Sleep Could Equal A Better Sex Life

Is sleep apnea having an impact on your libido or the libido of your partner? Santa Barbara dentist Dr. Mark T. Weiser has seen many patients who have had sleep apnea impact many aspects of their life, including their job, their health, and their sex life. The amount of disruption to your life is astounding and beyond that, it puts your health at unhealthy levels of risk.

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How Are Depression And Sleep Related

Depression and sleep are closely connected. Almost all people with depression experience sleep issues. In fact, doctors may hesitate to diagnose depression in the absence of complaints about sleep.

Depression and sleep issues have a bidirectional relationship. This means that poor sleep can contribute to the development of depression and that having depression makes a person more likely to develop sleep issues. This complex relationship can make it challenging to know which came first, sleep issues or depression.

Sleep issues associated with depression include insomnia, hypersomnia, and obstructive sleep apnea. Insomnia is the most common and is estimated to occur in about 75% of adult patients with depression. It is believed that about 20% of people with depression have obstructive sleep apnea and about 15% have hypersomnia. Many people with depression may go back and forth between insomnia and hypersomnia during a single period of depression.

Sleep issues may contribute to the development of depression through changes in the function of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Sleep disruptions can affect the bodys stress system, disrupting circadian rhythms and increasing vulnerability for depression.

Fortunately, people who are treated for major depression often report improved quality of their sleep.

The Impact Of Sleepiness On Mood And Mental Health

Common Sleep Deprivation Symptoms: Diagnosing Exhaustion

Lack of sleep can alter your mood significantly. It causes irritability and anger and may lessen your ability to cope with stress.

The walking tired are more likely to sit and seethe in traffic jams and quarrel with other people.

Studies show that sleep-deprived people are also less likely than those who sleep well to exercise, eat healthily, have sex and engage in leisure activities.1

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Snoozing Could Definitely Be Losingespecially When It Comes To Your Mood

WeAre/ShutterstockIts no secret that sleep deprivation has a cascade of negative health effects. Not only can a lack of Zzzs leave you feeling grouchy and forgetful, but it can also lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease down the road. But science says theres one plus side to less sleep: It could be a useful antidepressant.

A new meta-analysis claims that a lack of sleep could actually provide a mood boost for certain people. After reviewing over 60 studies on sleep deprivation, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania concluded that in controlled settings, sleep deprivation can radically reduce the symptoms of depression in about half of patients.

Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

These studies in our analysis show that sleep deprivation is effective for many populations, said lead author Elaine Boland, PhD, in a press release. Regardless of how the response was quantified, how the sleep deprivation was delivered, or the type of depression the subject was experiencing, we found a nearly equivalent response rate.

Thats a huge improvement from antidepressants, which often take weeks to become effective. But dont start messing with your sleep schedule quite yet. Researchers say more research is still needed to determine how effective this treatment is and how to ensure the best results, according to senior author Philip Gehrman, PhD. And plenty of studies say that a lack of sleep can actually cause depression, too.

How Sleep Deprivation And Depression Are Often Connected

Remember, as always, what ultimately causes depression is your thinking. And one of the most powerful ways that negative thinking can make you depressed is by interfering with the quality of your sleep.

Stressful negative thoughts can leave you feeling perpetually exhausted, so that you sleep too much, and then still feel too tired to do anything. Or stressful negative thinking can keep you up and make you sleep deprived, which will also contribute to making you more depressed.

So be aware that if youre depressed, youre definitely thinking in stressful, negative ways that make you depressed, and that these types of stressful thoughts interfere with your peace of mind and therefore the quality of your sleep.

If you feel like you cant sleep because of depression, the good news is that as you improve your thinking to stop being depressed, the quality of your sleep will also naturally improve, so youll enjoy more restful sleep each night.

Also, when you regularly get exercise, the quality of your sleep will naturally improve: so to enjoy restful sleep, it is important that you improve your thinking and lifestyle, so that you can enjoy sleep that leaves you feeling more refreshed and energetic each day.

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How Is Depression Treated

While depression can have dramatic effects on a persons sleep and overall quality of life, it can be treated. After working with a doctor or mental health provider to understand the type and severity of depression, treatment may include:

  • Counseling: Depression can be treated effectively with several types of counseling, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy . CBT for insomnia is a type of CBT that focuses on managing chronic insomnia.
  • Medications: Antidepressants are an effective treatment for depression. These prescription medications usually take time before they begin to improve symptoms and patients may need to try several antidepressants before finding the right fit. A doctor or psychiatrist can discuss the appropriateness of these medications and recommend a specific type.
  • Brain stimulation therapies: When medications and other approaches are not effective, some people with depression consider electroconvulsive therapy or other, more recent types of brain stimulation like repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and vagus nerve stimulation . These treatments can be effective but are only provided under the guidance of a trained professional.

Treatment often isnt limited to just one of these approaches in fact, combining medication and psychotherapy has shown higher rates of improvement than one approach alone.

How Poor Sleep Depression And Chronic Pain Feed Each Other

Sleep Deprivation, Can This Cause Depression?

How we see the world shapes who we choose to be and sharing compelling experiences can frame the way we treat each other, for the better. This is a powerful perspective.

We all know how just one night of bad sleep can put us in a total funk. When you struggle getting restorative rest night after night, the effects can be devastating.

Ive spent much of my life lying awake in bed until the early morning, praying for sleep. With the help of a sleep specialist, I was finally able to connect my symptoms with a diagnosis: delayed sleep phase syndrome, a disorder in which your preferred sleep time is at least two hours later than conventional bedtimes.

In a perfect world, Id fall asleep in the early morning hours and stay in bed until noon. But since this isnt a perfect world, I have many sleep-deprived days.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , adults like me who sleep less than the recommended seven hours per night are more likely than solid sleepers to report one of 10 chronic health conditions including arthritis, depression, and diabetes.

Thats a significant connection, as roughly 50 to 70 million U.S. adults have some type of sleep issue, from insomnia to obstructive sleep apnea to chronic sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation is so potent that it can easily launch us into a downward spiral that, for many, can lead to depression or chronic pain.

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Get Back To Healthy Sleep

People who snore or have sleep apnea often dont realize they have a problem unless someone tells them. Theyre asleep after all! If youd like to find out if snoring or sleep apnea might be causing your fatigue and depression, take my on-line sleep disorder questionnaire. Who doesnt want to sleep well and wake up refreshed?

If you have tried various depression and sleep apnea treatments with no success, consider visiting your dentist about specialized sleep disorder dentistry.

Exploring various treatment options with your dentist could be the answer. Todays advanced technology opens new doors in treatments related to sleep disorders. Common symptoms shared by depression and sleep apnea may be alleviated with a personalized treatment plan developed by your dentist.

Please call to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nehawandian today.

How Much Sleep Is Enough

While sleep needs can vary from one person to another, most of us as adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night . If youre not regularly getting that many, you could well be sleep deprivedeven if youre not aware of the subtle effects its having on your mood, personality, and performance, or the long-term toll it could be taking on your overall health.

When it comes to sleep, its not just the number of hours thats importantits also the quality of those hours as well. Even if you spend enough time in bed, if you struggle to wake up in the morning or feel drowsy during the day, that could be a sign that youre not getting the quality of sleep you need.

Disruptions from noise, light, or physical pain, for example, can prevent you from spending enough time in the different stages of sleepparticularly the rejuvenating deep sleep and REM sleep stagesdiminishing the quality of your rest and contributing to the symptoms of sleep deprivation.

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Can Sleep Deprivation Cause Depression

For the most part, experts see insomnia as a secondary symptom of other disorders like depression and anxiety. The idea used to be that if you were depressed, your sleep would suffer as a consequence.

That definitely makes sense, as low mood and the side-effects of depression can often cause insomnia. Additionally, many of the medications used to treat depression have sleep issues as a side effect.

However, theres a chance that the reverse relationship could be a consideration too.

Over the past decade or so, its become increasingly clear that disturbed sleep often becomes beforean episode of depression. If you have ever suffered with lost sleep before, youll know how difficult it can be to keep your mood on track.

Research indicates that our ability to regulate our emotions is reduced significantly after we have a bad nights sleep.

Additionally, insomnia and other sleep disorders has been shown to predict depression in certain cases too. The more sleep deprived you are, the more likely it is that youll have a depressive experience.

So can sleep deprivation cause depression?

The answer isnt 100% clear. Although many experts believe that lack of sleep wont cause depression directly, they do think that sleep loss has an impact on the amygdala. Thats the part of your brain that plays an important role in emotions and anxiety.

What Causes Problems With Sleep

Sleep deprivation can have surprising effects on our body ...

The things that affect our sleep differ for everyone. They can include:

  • stresses or worries for example, issues with money, housing or work
  • problems with where you sleep for example, if you sleep somewhere uncomfortable or youre easily disturbed
  • health conditions relating to sleep, also known as sleep disorders
  • being a parent or carer

For more information about sleep disorders, see the Mental Health Foundation and Royal College of Psychiatrists websites, and our list of useful contacts.

Its not possible to relax if you dont have anywhere comfortable and safe at night. This leads to not sleeping and worrying most of the night.

If problems with sleep are worrying you or affecting your day to day life, its a good idea to see a doctor who can give you a health check and help you access treatment and support. If you fill in a sleep diary, you could take this to your appointment to show your doctor.

My sleep problems are more a case of bedtime procrastination than insomnia as such and, as a consequence, being too tired the next morning. I still havent found out what works for me as I can get to sleep once I do get to bed.

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Chronic Elevated Levels Of Adrenaline

Finally, one of the things that we know about anxiety is that the physical symptoms can be increased when levels of adrenaline in the body are high. These physical symptoms, such as racing heart and hyperventilation, can actually lead to greater feelings of anxiety themselves. Anxiety has been associated with chronic adrenaline release. The body, for whatever reason, seems to release adrenaline too quickly and too easily even when there is no stress present, and this rush of adrenaline causes the entire body to feel on edge.

So whats interesting is that scientists have shown that those with sleep debt often have chronically elevated levels of adrenaline. One interpretation of these findings is that when you dont get enough sleep, adrenaline may start to course through your veins more often. For those without anxiety this may not be too big a problem. However, those with anxiety are likely to respond to the the adrenaline increase and thus experience an increase in overall anxiety levels.

Excessive Sleepiness Endangers You And Others Around You

A slowed reaction time when driving is only one way that excessive sleepiness can endanger you and others around you. When you havent had enough sleep, even tasks you are used to can become dangerous.

One study found that sleep deprivation hampered information-integration. This is a function of the mind that relies heavily on split-second, gut-feeling decisions.

The researchers noted that this could be a particular concern for firefighters, police officers, soldiers, shift workers, health care workers and others who are often sleep deprived on the job.10

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Signs And Symptoms Of Sleep Deprivation

You may be sleep deprived if you:

  • Feel tired, irritable, and fatigued during the day yawn frequently.
  • Have difficulty focusing or remembering things.
  • Feel less interested in sex.
  • Find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning, need an alarm clock to wake up on time, or repeatedly hit the snooze button.
  • Feel lethargic or drowsy in the afternoon.
  • Find it difficult to stay awake in lectures, meetings, warm rooms, while driving or commuting, or after a heavy meal.
  • Have to take a nap during the day.
  • Fall asleep on the couch in the evening.
  • Are asleep within five minutes of going to bed.
  • Need to sleep late on weekends.
  • Have experienced mood changes, including feeling depressed, anxious, stressed, paranoid, or suicidal.

How Sleep Deprivation Harms Mental Health

How sleep deprivation can have an effect on postnatal depression

Sleep and mental health are closely related sleep affects mood just as mental health affects sleep. Often difficulty sleeping is a symptom of mental illness. Lack of sleep also makes you more susceptible to declining mental health. As Dr. Lindholm said, sleep helps heal your mental health, but it can be a challenge for someone struggling with mental illness to get the sleep needed.

Those with depression often struggle with sleeping, whether it be difficulty getting enough or getting too much but not feeling well-rested. If someone with depression is sleep deprived it makes it even harder to function during the day. Given sleep deprivation also increased irritability and fatigue, it compounds the challenges of depression. Finding treatments for depression often helps with symptoms of poor sleep.

Anxiety is also often closely related to sleep deprivation. Difficulty falling or staying asleep is a common symptom of anxiety. Anxiety disorders and/or panic attacks often lead to intense worries and adrenaline keeping someone up at night. With anxiety, it is difficult to relax the brain and body enough for quality sleep. Like depression, anxiety can also lead to chronic insomnia and sleep deprivation.

Coping with any mental illness is exhausting, whether its depression or anxiety or another mental illness. Sleep deprivation is not your fault. Feeling sleep-deprived from mental illness is common. Know youre not alone and there is help available if youre struggling.

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