You May Not Realize It But There Are Many Problems With Sleeping Too Much
In a world where so many of us are struggling to get enough sleep, the issue of sleeping too much might seem like a luxury problem.
Its actually not. Like insufficient sleep, oversleeping is a sign of disordered sleep. It may be connected to a mental health issue, such as depression. Its often a signal that a person is experiencing poor sleep quality, and it can be a sign of a clinical sleep disorder, including obstructive sleep apnea or narcolepsy.
Sleeping too much is linked with many of the same health risks as sleeping too little, including heart disease, metabolic problems such as diabetes and obesity, and cognitive issues including difficulty with memory. Similar to people who sleep too little, people who sleep too much have higher overall mortality risks.
We talk a lot about insufficient sleep, and the risks that a lack of sleep poses for physical health, mood, relationships, and performance. But oversleeping isnt something to ignore.
Hypersomnia is the clinical term for excessive sleeping and excessive sleepiness during the day. Like its counterpart, insomnia, hypersomnia has several core symptoms:
- Sleeping for extended hours at night .
- Difficulty waking up in the morning .
- Trouble rising from bed and starting the day.
- Grogginess on and off or consistently throughout the day.
- Trouble concentrating.
How much sleep is too much?
A Sign Of Atypical Depression
Dr. Drerup says that oversleeping is a symptom in 15% of people with depression and she notes that it tends to more often be related to atypical depression.
Atypical depression is a specific type of depression in which the persons mood can improve in response to a positive event. But even though their mood may brighten, its only temporary and the root depression remains.
Often, they dont realize theyre depressed, Dr. Drerup adds. Besides oversleeping, other symptoms are increased appetite and interpersonal sensitivity, like the feeling of being rejected. And that depression feeds into other reasons sleep can be so greatly affected.
What Are The Types Of Depressive Disorders
Significant feelings of sadness or a loss of interest in their normal daily activities are common in all depressive disorders. Specific forms of depression vary based on the severity of symptoms and the situation in which they develop.
The most well-known type is major depressive disorder, and it is marked by symptoms that affect a person virtually every day for an extended period of time. It commonly involves sleep disruptions.
Persistent depressive disorder, also called dysthymia or chronic depression, may involve fewer symptoms than major depression, but symptoms last for at least two years and any symptom-free period lasts no longer than two months.
Other types of depression, such as premenstrual dysphoric disorder and seasonal affective disorder tend to come and go over shorter periods but can also involve significant sleeping problems.
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Change In Eating Habits
Our appetite and eating habits can also be impacted by depression. Some people may experience an increased appetite, while others have less of an appetite or not be hungry at all. If you are also noticing changes in your sleep habits, like the ones listed above, you may also notice changes in the way you eat. This is because sleep helps regulate our hunger hormones, which help to keep us from over- or undereating.
Do I Need Health Insurance To Receive This Service
The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.
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Depression Acts On Neurotransmitters To Make You Tired
Depression is likely associated with changes in brain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. “These neurotransmitters play important roles in regulating energy levels, sleep, appetite, motivation, and pleasure,” Ricke says.;
According to Harvard Health Publishing, depression is a complex disease with many possible and interlinked causes, including genetics, medical conditions, stressful life events, and brain chemistry. And it can be challenging to tell the difference between everyday tiredness and depression-related fatigue.;
“Fatigue and depression can look quite similar,” says Alex Dimitriu, MD, psychiatrist and sleep medicine expert, and founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine.;
Oversleeping Helps Me Escape Depression
For as long as I can remember, I have always been someone who needs a lot of sleep. Bouts of depression exacerbate this trait. During my major depressive episodes, I could sleep upwards of 18 hours a day. When I woke up, I wanted more. The more I got, the more I wanted… the more I needed. It was like an addictive drug. It was also like a veil over the pain I was feeling.
Like no other symptom of depression, sleep helped me escape from all the others. It was so easy, too. Just close my eyes and drift away. No pain. Total avoidance. Which is why this was the hardest symptom for me to combat.
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Depression And Oversleeping: I Want To Sleep All The Time
Oversleeping is my way out of depression. That’s not so odd seeing that sleep, whether it is too much or too little, can be a symptom of depression. For me, I could never get enough sleep. That is often still the case, a keen reminder that I must always be aware of the symptoms of depression that affect me. Depression makes me want to oversleep to numb the pain.
Risk Factors That Can Make You More Vulnerable
Depression most often results from a combination of factors, rather than one single cause. For example, if you went through a divorce, were diagnosed with a serious medical condition, or lost your job, the stress could prompt you to start drinking more, which in turn could cause you to withdraw from family and friends. Those factors combined could then trigger depression.
The following are examples of risk factors that can make you more susceptible:
Loneliness and isolation. Theres a strong relationship between loneliness and depression. Not only can lack of social support heighten your risk, but having depression can cause you to withdraw from others, exacerbating feelings of isolation. Having close friends or family to talk to can help you maintain perspective on your issues and avoid having to deal with problems alone.
. While a network of strong and supportive relationships can be crucial to good mental health, troubled, unhappy, or abusive relationships can have the opposite effect and increase your risk for depression.
Recent stressful life experiences. Major life changes, such as a bereavement, divorce, unemployment, or financial problems can often bring overwhelming levels of stress and increase your risk of developing depression.
Chronic illness or pain. Unmanaged pain or being diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, can trigger feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
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How Can I Help Myself If I Am Depressed
Other things that may help include:
- Spending time with other people and talking with a friend or relative about your feelings
- Increasing your level of physical activity. Regular exercise can help people with mild to moderate depression and may be one part of a treatment plan for those with severe depression. Talk with your health care professional about what kind of exercise is right for you.
- Breaking up large tasks into small ones, and tackling what you can as you can. Don’t try to do too many things at once
- Delaying important decisions until you feel better. Discuss decisions with others who know you well.
- Keeping stable daily routines. For example, eating and going to bed at the same time every day.
- Avoiding alcohol
As you continue treatment, gradually you will start to feel better. Remember that if you are taking an antidepressant, it may take several weeks for it to start working. Try to do things that you used to enjoy before you had depression. Go easy on yourself.
Changes In Appetite And Weight
We all tend to overeat or feel loss of appetite from time to time. However, if it’s coupled with other symptoms, such as feeling depressed or losing interest and pleasure in usual or favorite activities for two weeks or more, it could be a sign of a depressive episode, according to Simon Rego, PsyD, director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y. A weight gain of at least 5 percent of a person’s total body weight in a short period of time that causes significant distress may be considered part of depression, Dr. Rego says.
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Residual Insomnia: Relapse And Recurrence
There is much evidence that effective antidepressant treatments can successfully elicit significant response in depression, but is much less evidence that effective treatment fully addresses the problem of sleep disturbance. Persistent insomnia is one of the most common residual symptoms in patients with incomplete remission: This presents a problem, given the fact that residual insomnia confers greater risk of subsequent depression: in a study of remitted patients maintained on a selective serotonin reuptake inhibotor and psychotherapy, subjective sleep problems and anxiety were each found to be predictors of early recurrence. The origin of these residual symptoms of insomnia is probably multifactorial, reflecting ongoing functional brain abnormalities as well as adverse effects of some drug treatments, for example SSRIs, particularly fluoxetine, can lead to insomnia.
Mild And Moderate Depression
These are the most common types. More than simply feeling blue, the symptoms of mild depression can interfere with your daily life, robbing you of joy and motivation. Those symptoms become amplified in moderate depression and can lead to a decline in confidence and self-esteem.
Recurrent, mild depression
Dysthymia is a type of chronic low-grade depression. More days than not, you feel mildly or moderately depressed, although you may have brief periods of normal mood.
- The symptoms of dysthymia are not as strong as the symptoms of major depression, but they last a long time .
- Some people also experience major depressive episodes on top of dysthymia, a condition known as double depression.
- If you suffer from dysthymia, you may feel like youve always been depressed. Or you may think that your continuous low mood is just the way you are.
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What Causes Oversleeping
While oversleeping can be a symptom of atypical depression, there are different factors that also contribute to it. When someone is depressed, it can be because they sleep as a form of escape, says Dr. Drerup. They may be thinking, I dont have anything to look forward to so why do I even start the day?
Its also possible that if you or someone else is oversleeping, theres an underlying sleep disorder. Sleep apnea is commonly comorbid with depression, she adds. In that case, a person is often experiencing non-restorative sleep at night so theyre not rested even after eight hours. So then they oversleep in trying to catch up.
During sleep apnea, a person will stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night. Because of what Dr. Drerup calls fragmented and disrupted sleep, they often dont get into the deeper stages of sleep or get as much REM sleep as they need. As a result, theyll feel exhausted even if they have slept an adequate number of hours.
Another factor that could cause oversleeping in a depressed individual is an interruption to a persons circadian rhythm, a disruption to their bodys internal clock. In fact, according to Dr. Drerup, sometimes its not so much someone is oversleeping so much as theyre simply sleeping on a delayed sleep phase.
Signs Of Depression Faqs
Q: What are the first signs of depression?A: Any of the symptoms of depression listed above, including persistent low mood, loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable, and excessive guilt or feelings of being worthless, may serve as âwarning signsâ for a depressive episode coming on. Additionally, research suggests that a person might experience other early symptoms that indicate the onset of depression, known as a prodrome, in the days, weeks or months before becoming depressed. During the prodrome, the following symptoms may be present:
- A vague sense of emotional discomfort, which may be expressed as âsomething not being rightâ
- Anxiety, sadness or irritability
- Loss of interest and motivation
- Sleep disturbances, e.g. insomnia or sleeping a lot more than usual
These symptoms may be mistakenly attributed to external factors such as bad weather or stress. If a person thinks that they may be experiencing a depressive phase, it is recommended that they speak to a healthcare provider.
Q: What are the physical signs of depression?A: Physical symptoms of depression may include:
- Feeling tired a lot
- Restlessness or difficulty keeping still
- Unplanned weight loss or gain
Q: Depression and irritability: what is the connection?A: Persistent irritability can be a sign of depression in some people. A person might also be angry a lot and/or experience several of the other symptoms described above.
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How To Tell If You Are Depressed Or Just Tired
With both depression and fatigue, symptoms include low energy, low motivation, and anhedonia, or a loss of interest in pleasurable activities, Dimitriu says.;
One distinguishing factor can be the desire to engage in activities people who have fatigue wish to do things, but lack energy, whereas people with depression have lower interest in activities, he says.;
“Another important consideration is the duration of the low mood and if it improves with sleep,” Dimitriu says. A single good night’s sleep can improve a tired person’s mood, he notes.;
But depression-related fatigue permeates every facet of a person’s life, says Ricke. The effect is felt:;
- Physically: Everyday tasks eating, showering, getting dressed, and so on may become difficult. “The body can feel heavy, slow, and stiff due to depression,” Ricke says.;
- Cognitively: Due to depression, you may experience “difficulty sustaining focus, concentrating, and processing information,” Ricke says. Of course, lack of sleep can have a similar cognitive impact, making it challenging to concentrate.;
- Emotionally: Here is where the effects may be most profound. “Fatigue makes it more difficult to weed through the already confusing thoughts and feelings that are part of depression,” Ricke says. Forming emotional connections with friends, family, and the people around you may be more challenging when you’re fatigued, she says. And that, in turn, “can perpetuate feelings of aloneness and hopelessness,” Ricke says.;
Symptoms Of Different Forms Of Depression
Depression can make you feel many difficult emotions including anger, anxiety, guilt, confusion and emotional exhaustion, as well as sadness. It can also leave you feeling vulnerable and tearful.
There are different types of depression, and it is important to know that each type has different symptoms and impacts people in unique ways. These include:
- Severe depression – you experience significant fatigue, no longer find pleasure in activities that you once enjoyed and feel as though you have lost the capacity to experience joy. Symptoms can be extreme and often have a profound impact on your ability to function
- Severe depression with psychotic symptoms you also experience hallucinations or have delusional thoughts
- Moderately severe depression you experience symptoms similar to people with severe depression, but are likely to be less distant and may see small improvements from one day to another
- Bipolar depression you experience episodes of elation and depression of some duration, causing you to have a lot of energy and periods of grandiose thinking
- Dysthymia or persistent depressive disorder you have chronic periods of depressive moods that can last for several years, but the symptoms allow you to function somewhat
- Recurrent depression you experience repeated episodes of depression, but dont have a history of having independent episodes of heightened energy or mood elevation
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Depression In Men
Different men have different symptoms, but some common depression symptoms include:
- Anger, irritability, or aggressiveness
- Feeling anxious, restless, or on the edge
- Loss of interest in work, family, or once-pleasurable activities
- Problems with sexual desire and performance
- Feeling sad, “empty,” flat, or hopeless
- Not being able to concentrate or remember details
- Feeling very tired, not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much
- Overeating or not wanting to eat at all
- Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
- Physical aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
- Inability to meet the responsibilities of work, caring for family, or other important activities
- Engaging in high-risk activities
- A need for alcohol or drugs
- Withdrawing from family and friends or becoming isolated
Not every man who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some men experience only a few symptoms while others may experience many.
What If My Symptoms Dont Improve
If youre not responding to treatment, you may live with treatment resistant depression. This is when your symptoms have not improved after at least 2 standard treatments. This can also be known as treatment-refractory depression.
There is currently no official criteria used to diagnose treatment resistant depression.
What treatment is available for treatment-resistant depression?There are treatment options for treatment resistant depression. Even if antidepressants have not worked already for you, your doctor may suggest a different antidepressant from a different class.
The new antidepressant you are offered will depend on the first antidepressant you were given.
Sometimes your doctor can prescribe a second type of medication to go with your antidepressant. This can sometimes help the antidepressant work better than it does by itself.
Where antidepressants have not worked, your doctor may suggest talking therapies, ECT or brain stimulation treatments. See the previous section for more information on these.
What is an implanted vagus nerve stimulator, and how is it used in treatment resistant depression?If you live with treatment resistant depression, and youve not responded to other treatments, you may be able ask for an implanted vagus nerve stimulator.
Please speak to your doctor if youre interested in this treatment and for more information. You may be able to get this treatment funded through an Individual Funding Request.
- NHS – Your Rights by clicking here.
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