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Why Do Depressed People Sleep So Much

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Addressing Sleep Problems Makes A Difference

Too much REM sleep: why do depressed people wake up exhausted?

If you sleep poorly and feel depressed, anxious, or less emotionally responsive, there are many treatments that can help. First, look at your sleep habits and see if there are steps that you can take on your own to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep. See Adopt Good Sleep Habits for tips on how to improve your sleep. If problems persist, you may wish to see a medical provider and ask about an evaluation for sleep problems and mental health concerns. After an evaluation and diagnosis, your provider can advise you on the best course of treatment. Options may include behavioral or other forms of therapy and/or medications. You can read about and watch a video of a behavioral sleep consultation in the Healthy Sleep module.Even if you do not have underlying sleep problems, taking steps to ensure adequate sleep will lead to improved mood and well-being. Sheila, a Boston district attorney and mother, became sleep deprived due to the conflicting demands of a full-time job and caring for her young children. She began to feel cranky, irritable, and uncharacteristically depressed. When she got both of her children on a consistent sleep schedule, she herself started sleeping an average of seven to eight hours a night and her mood improved considerably. Read more and watch a video about this in Sheila’s Balancing Act.

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.

How Can You Deal With Oversleeping And Fatigue/tiredness As A Result Of Depression

First things first, you need to be sure that your oversleeping and/or fatigue is attributable to depression. Once you have ruled out all the other causes that we have mentioned in the earlier sections, then your best solution is to deal with the depression you feel.

You have to tackle the depression itself because the issue of oversleeping and fatigue are not the problems themselves. They are merely the symptoms, and treating the symptoms will not make the problem go away. And if the problem is not dealt with and eliminated, the symptoms will persist.

To deal with depression, especially when it has become serious, the best solution is to seek professional help from a therapist.

A therapist will help talk you through what could be have triggered the onset of the depression. Sometimes it could be a tragic loss . For others, it could be the onset of a midlife crisis. And in other cases, it could just be an unresolved issue from the past.

Whatever the reason might be, talking to a therapist will help you figure it out. And once you have figured it out, the therapist would be able to help recommend any steps or treatment that is tailored to your specific needs.

If you suspect that a midlife crisis might be the reason for your depression, our articles on What is a midlife crisis for a woman and Male midlife crisis stages can give you a headstart on finding solutions before seeing a therapist.

They Can Be Unusually Irritable

A depressed persons behavior might be interpreted as melancholy even if thats not what theyre really feeling. Irritability is a frequently overlooked symptom of depression that is also very common. This should be understandable, since depression is a health problem you cant see or strictly measure, making it hard to combat.

The constant work it takes to keep up all the necessary aspects of life while dealing with depression also drains the person, and leaves little room for patience or understanding.

If someone you know discovers theyre clinically depressed and shares this with you, you may initially be confused if their previous behavior didnt fit the common misconception of the shy, silent depressed person. If they tend to have a short temper and are quick to annoy, thats actually a side effect of depression.

How Does Depression Affect Sleep

Why Do Depressed People Sleep So Much? 7 Facts to Know of ...

Depression can affect a number of bodily functions, like decreased appetite and libido loss, and make it more difficult to fall asleep. , hopelessness, and other feelings that come with depression may take over a persons thoughts as he tries to fall asleep.

How does depression affect sleep? If someone is tired during the day, he or she may want to nap, which can then affect nighttime sleep. Even getting off a regular sleep schedule can affect a persons body. While some people dont sleep enough, depression and sleeping a lot is also common.

Depression And Dreams: How Mental Health Affects Your Dreams

From the outlandish claims of Sigmund Freud to modern-day dream interpretation, dreams have long been a mystery to many.

Some people tend to have scarier dreams. Others have dreams that simply dont make sense. Still, other people have lucid dreams that they can control. Everybody is unique, but is there a connection between your dreams and your mental health?

What Problems Might I Have With Sleep

Everyone needs sleep, but many of us have problems with it. You might recognise some of the experiences listed below, or have other difficulties with sleep that aren’t mentioned here.

You might:

  • find it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep or wake up earlier than you’d like to 
  • have problems that disturb your sleep, such as panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares or psychosis
  • find it hard to wake up or get out of bed
  • often feel tired or sleepy this could be because you’re not sleeping enough, not getting good quality sleep or because of health problems
  • sleep a lot which could include sleeping at times when you want, or need, to be awake.

“When I get depressed, I sleep so much at its worst it was 18 hours a day, because it was the only way that I could stop thinking and stop my mind from saying awful things to me.”

If you’re having problems sleeping, you might:

  • be more likely to feel anxious, depressed or suicidal
  • be more likely to have psychotic episodes poor sleep can trigger mania, psychosis or paranoia, or make existing symptoms worse
  • feel lonely or isolated for example, if you don’t have the energy to see people or they don’t seem to understand
  • struggle to concentrate, or make plans and decisions
  • feel irritable or not have energy to do things
  • have problems with day to day life for example, at work or with family and friends 
  • be more affected by other health problems, including mental health problems.

More On Sleep Tips And Tricks

Then there are the emotional side effects of sleeping badly.

“The emotionally it affects our relationships and our ability to be happy,” she added.

“Mentally it affects our ability to concentrate, think sharply and be creative. It just affects our general love of life.”

Dr Nerina can help you achieve a good night’s sleep in her book Fast Asleep Wide Awake.

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Oversleeping: How Much Sleep Is Too Much

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The amount of sleep you need varies significantly over the course of your lifetime. It depends on your age and activity level as well as your general health and lifestyle habits. For instance, during periods of stress or illness, you may feel an increased need for sleep. But although sleep needs differ over time and from person to person, experts typically recommend that adults should sleep between seven and nine hours each night.

Take Sleep Problems Seriously

You should tell your doctor if you:

  • have trouble falling or staying asleep
  • feel tired during the day
  • have physical pain, discomfort or other complaints that prevent you from getting a good nights sleep

Treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia and continuous positive airway pressure devices for apnea can restore good sleep, helping you sidestep related conditions like depression.

They Have A Medical Condition Aside From Depression That You May Not Be Aware Of

Other medical conditions that could cause a person to oversleep include type 2 diabetes, heart disease, headaches, and obesity. If you have any of these health conditions, you will find that you are prone to oversleeping. If you are not sure about the state of your health, a visit to the doctor will be a good place to start in trying to unravel the mystery of why you are oversleeping.

And if on the flipside of the coin you find that you are not getting enough sleep and need help with it, check out our very helpful article on Best gifts to help sleep for very helpful things you can still that are also healthy.

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.

Treatment Of Sleep Deprivation

Why Do Depressed People Sleep So Much?

Good sleep hygiene is the antidote to sleep deprivation. People accumulate sleep debt when they lose a specified amount of sleep each night, and the only way to repay that debt is to get more sleep.

Try these strategies to improve your sleep hygiene:

  • Set a specific schedule for sleep and wake times, including weekends and vacations
  • Go to bed when tired
  • Avoid eating 2-3 hours before bed
  • Engage in daily exercise
  • If unable to sleep after twenty minutes, go to another room to read until sleepy
  • Avoid using any electronics in the bedroom
  • Turn off electronics one hour before bed
  • Keep the bedroom quiet, dark, and cool

Ways Sleep Can Rapidly Improve Brain Function

Oversleeping is not only an issue among young people with depression. Among older adults, symptoms of insomnia may be more common. But many older adults also experience hypersomnia in connection with depression. Women, in particular, may be more likely to oversleep and feel excessively tired during the day if they are depressed.

Its also important to remember that among people with depression, sleep difficulties often take shifting, variable forms. People with depression may experience symptoms of both insomnia and hypersomnia. A 2014 study investigated how often insomnia and hypersomnia occur together in adults with depression in the U.S. Scientists found that more than 27 percent have whats known as co-occurring insomnia and hypersomnia. They also found some other striking, shared characteristics. People with depression who demonstrated both insomnia and hypersomnia had:

These people were also more likely to be receiving mental health treatment and more likely to be taking antidepressants.

Another study released just this year found that among people whod received a diagnosis of major depression, slightly less than one-third had both insomnia and hypersomnia. These people were at two to three times greater risk for bipolar disorder, according to the study.

When oversleeping is a symptom of a sleep disorder

Other causes of oversleeping:


Links Between Depression And Sleep

Research suggests that sleep and depression have a two-way relationship . People with sleep disorders are more likely to develop depression, and poor sleep is often the chief complaint of people diagnosed with depression. In the past, sleep issues were seen as secondary to depression and were rarely a target of treatment. Today, researchers believe that sleep issues often begin before depressive symptoms, and treating sleep issues may be an important part of the overall treatment of depression.

Although researchers are still learning about the two-way relationship between sleep and depression, several potential links have been suggested. Depression and sleep disorders may be affected by similar processes within the body, such as:

Sleep Complaints in Depression

In people diagnosed with depression, sleep complaints are common. In fact, its estimated that 90% of patients with depression experience sleep issues , including insomnia and hypersomnia. Depression is the most common cause of chronic insomnia. People with depression and insomnia may experience a variety of symptoms , including trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up too early.

Depression and Sleep Disorders

Insomnia isnt the only sleep disorder linked to depression. Patients diagnosed with sleep disorders have higher rates of depression then the general population. Sleep disorders with significant links to depression include sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome.

Simone Biles Opens Up About How She Coped With Sexual Abuse

Dr. Natalie Azar, NBC news medical contributor, said the technical term for a depression nap is hypersomnia, “which means that youre sleeping too much.”

In fact, naps can be good for you. Recent evidence finds that one or two daytime naps a week may be linked to a lower risk of heart attack or stroke. And nap length, which can include anything from a quick, five-minute catnap to an hour or more snooze, doesn’t seem to make a difference. Still, when it comes to daytime naps, there’s seems to be a fine line between a healthy refresh and an indication of a problem.

Physiological Findings In Depression

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As well as the distressing symptoms of sleep disturbance experienced by patients, changes in objective sleep architecture arc well-documented in depression. Compared with normal controls, sleep continuity of depressed subjects is often impaired, with increased wakefulness , and reduced sleep efficiency. Sleep onset latency is significantly increased and total sleep time reduced. Rapid eye movement latency is often shortened, and the duration of the first REM period is increased . The number of eye movements in REM is also increased.

Hypnograms from a normal subject and a depressed patient . The depressed patient has a shortened REM sleep latency, very little slow-wave sleep, particularly in the first sleep cycle, more awakening, and a long period of waking at about 0430.

Another anomaly seen in depressed patients is that the normal pattern of SWA decreasing from the first to the last NREM episode is disrupted, with less of a decrease in SWA occurring from the first to the second episode in depressed patients, . This is sometimes expressed as a lower delta sleep ratio that is the quotient of SWA in the first to the second non-RRM period of sleep.

Evolution of slow-wave activity over the night in a normal subject and a depressed patient . In the normal subject the amount of slow-wave activity is high in the first nonREM period, then diminishes over the night. In the depressed patient, the highest activity is in the second non-REM period.

Elderly Sleeping Too Much

It is common for people to become light sleepers when they grow old. Many find it difficult to sleep through the night due to the need to use the bathroom or achy joints. Sometimes, people try to catch a restorative nap during the day to make up for their lost sleep, and that is quite normal. You may have to worry a bit when you have an elderly sleeping too much. But, exactly how much is too much? Should you talk to your doctor when an elder spends a lot of time sleeping throughout the day? Let’s find out more.

How Is Depression Diagnosed

Depression can only be diagnosed by a medical professional, so people experiencing symptoms of depression should talk with their doctor, counselor, or psychiatrist. They may ask about the severity of the symptoms and how long theyve persisted. They may also suggest tests that can help them to better understand your situation and monitor changes or improvements over time.

A provider may also refer patients to a specialist in sleep disorders to help determine if there is an underlying sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome, that may be causing depression or contributing to symptoms.

The Good Days Are Relatively Normal

A good day is me being able to get up before or right at my alarm, shower, and put on my face. I can push through being around people, as my job as a software trainer calls me to. Im not crabby or anxiety-ridden. I can push through the evening and have conversations with co-workers without feeling total despair. On a good day, I have focus and mental clarity. I feel like a capable, productive person.

Christian, software trainer, Dallas

Getting Help For Depression

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The fundamental treatment protocol for depression involves a combination of medication and psychotherapy:

  • Psychotherapy. One-on-one talk therapy sessions allow the therapist to guide the individual toward resolving unaddressed emotional issues that may be contributing to the depression. These may involve past trauma, childhood abuse, grief and loss, divorce, and other painful life events. Cognitive behavioral therapy is useful for helping to guide patients toward established more self-affirming thoughts that lead to positive thought/behavior patterns. Group therapy sessions, such as a depression support group, can also be beneficial to individuals being treated for depression.
  • Medication. Antidepressant drug therapy is the industry standard for depression treatment. There are dozens of antidepressants on the market today. These include SSRIs, SNRIs, MAOIs, and tricyclic antidepressants. The drugs vary in how they impact brain chemistry, and dosing adjustments or even changing to a different drug is common when trying to find the best fit for each patient.

Is There Anything You Can Do To Help

It is important to identify sleep problems in older adults. If you really find an elderly sleeping too much, you may want to learn more about the underlying cause first. This could be a warning sign of dementia, so you need to have a correct diagnosis first. Your doctor will help you develop a plan to improve things a bit.

Similarly, you may want to consider the medications you are giving to an elderly in your home. See if they are taking antipsychotic medications, antihistamines, cardiovascular medications, or other medications to treat a medical condition. Talk to your doctor and ask about the side effects of these medications. They may change the prescription to see if it improves the condition of the patient.

What’s more, Alzheimer’s disease can cause sleep disruptions and sleep problems, but you can help the patient by establishing a nighttime routine as well as a daytime routine that includes a degree of physical activity. Sometimes, an older adult in your home feels a bit left out, and this makes them feel bored and depressed. The solution is to sit with them, talk to them, and involve them in your day-to-day activities to make them feel active throughout the day.

Holistic Activities Complement Depression Treatment

Psychiatry has begun to embrace holistic therapies as complementary to traditional treatment modalities for depression, as these activities can help reduce stress and induce feelings of calm. Some of the holistic treatment elements include:

  • Yoga. Yoga involves slow, purposeful physical poses with a focus on breathing. Yoga is known to promote relaxation and reduce stress while also strengthening and stretching muscles, and reducing blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Acupuncture. Acupuncture uses tiny needles to open up energy paths in the body thought to assist in the improvement of mind-body connectedness and wellness.
  • Meditation. Mindfulness meditation is also helpful in training the brain to focus purposefully on the present moment, taking in the various sensory stimuli and focusing on rhythmic breathing.
  • Exercise. The positive effects of getting regular exercise are caused by the release of brain chemicals, such as endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine.
  • Aromatherapy. Certain essential oils have been found to relieve symptoms of depressed mood. These include jasmine, citrus oils, bergamot, and chamomile oils.
  • Nutritional counseling. A diet rich in lean proteins, nuts and seeds, fresh vegetables and fruits, oily fish such as salmon, beans, and whole grains can significantly contribute to mental stability.

What Are The Symptoms Of Depression

The symptoms of depression can include physical changes as well as changes in moods and thoughts that interfere with normal daily activities. Symptoms may include:

  • Persistent sad, low, or irritable mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or guilt
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
  • Decreased energy and fatigue
  • Insomnia, waking up too early, or oversleeping
  • Low appetite or overeating
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Depression is more common in women and there may be differences in the symptoms of depression based on sex and age. Men often experience symptoms such as irritability and anger, whereas women more frequently experience sadness and guilt. Adolescents with depression may be irritable and have trouble in school, and younger children may pretend to be sick or worry that a parent may die.

What Causes Depression

why do i sleep so much

While researchers dont know the exact cause of depression, there are a number of factors that can increase the risk of developing this condition. These include having a personal or family history of depression, experiencing major stressors or traumas, taking certain medications, and having specific illnesses.

Related Reading

Am I Depressed Or Sad

Its easy to mistake sadness for depression, and depression for sadness. Many people who are sad are worried that they might be depressed, while others who are truly suffering from depression have no idea they think theyre just dealing with sadness. Because depressions main symptom is persistent sadness, its not surprising that so many people confuse the two.

Its important to be able to differentiate between feelings of depression that you just cant seem to shake and temporary feelings of sadness that you might feel now and then.  And because I am sad, is a simple, honest statement,  and Oh, Im so depressed, can either be truthful or an exaggeration, its become increasingly important for us to pay attention to the signs which will reveal whether a person whether its you or a friend has depression, which is a serious condition that requires treatment, or normal, passing sadness, which will go away on its own over time.

Does Depression Cause An Unusual Sleep Pattern Or Does An Unusual Sleep Pattern Cause Depression

Many people with depression experience poor sleep, either in the form of sleeping too little or too much.

In fact, when people seek treatment for poor sleep, many of them also exhibit symptoms consistent with depression. Conversely, people seeking treatment for depression will often complain of poor sleep.

âPoor sleepâ can entail:

  • Taking a long time to fall alseep
  • Waking up frequently during the night
  • Lying awake for a large period of the time spent in bed
  • Not feeling refreshed after time asleep.

All of this can culminate in the low mood, difficulty concentrating, lethargy and daytime tiredness that people living with depression are all too familiar with.

Even though the sleep that those with depression experience is poor, thatâs not to say that depression causes a lack of sleep. In fact, many people living with depression experience hypersomnia, the condition of sleeping too much.

Nevertheless, if that sleep is poor quality sleep then it wonât help daytime functioning.

Itâs also a sad fact that a link has been observed between extremes of sleep time and suicide risk but this may not be attributable directly to depression.

At this point, itâs worth asking âwhy does depression affect sleep?â

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