By Saya Norm
Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout our life. While sleeping, the body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development.
Getting inadequate sleep over time, in other words, sleep deprivation or total sleeplessness can raise the risk for chronic health problems. On the other hand, depression is classified as a mood disorder. It may be described as feelings of sadness, loss, or anger that interfere with a person’s everyday activities.
Sleeplessness and depression seem separate variables, sometimes they are correlated; in the worst way, mutually dependent and kill. The combination of depression and insomnia (sleeplessness) definitely made things worse. It’s becoming increasingly clear that these two things are linked. German meta-analysis in 2011 showed that insomnia doubles the risk of developing depression compared with those who have no sleep difficulties. Follow-up research in 2020 found these conditions have a mutual relationship.
Globally, both insomnia and depression affect millions of people. The world health organisation estimates 264 million people globally experience depression.
And some people experience both simultaneously. Sleep disorders and depression often occurs together. Up to 80 per cent of depression is accompanied by sleep disorders. They are like siblings. And about half the number of people with insomnia also felt the symptoms of depression. In such people, the risk of developing depression is up to three times higher, compared with people without sleep disorders.
Both conditions can negatively affect health: people with chronic insomnia are more likely to have a weaker immune system and get sick more often. Besides, they had a greater risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and heart disease: people with chronic depression are more likely to experience stress, chronic pain or weight gain - also they may be at risk of misusing drugs or alcohol. Nobody knows which may come first, insomnia or depression. Research shows that treating one condition may improve symptoms of both. The chicken or the egg first is not matter. To catch the things that might help both conditions is more important.
People with insomnia may have trouble shutting down their minds at bedtime.
In a good sleeper, the whole brain and all relevant brain centres go into a sleep state. In insomniacs, some parts of the brain do not sleep as deeply. Repeated losing sleep this way can affect mood.
Sleep-deprived persons may more likely to be irritable, a bit exhausted, and a bit likely to want to interact socially the next day. Most people want to control their sleep, but they can’t; sleep is involuntary. Chronic sleeplessness means feeling helpless which is a typical feature of depression.
One classic symptom of depression is altered sleep habits. Many people with depression experience insomnia as well. Often depression is diagnosed through a checklist, and that includes sleeplessness as well as irritability, the feeling of sadness and so on. Sometimes, traumatic life circumstances such as the death of a spouse elicit such strong responses that people may experience both depression and insomnia.
Coping with insomnia or depression by itself may seem draining; having both problems simultaneously may feel like a great challenge. If severe depression is coupled with insomnia, one shouldn’t neglect insomnia. But it is good to have an eye on both. There is some evidence that identifying and treating insomnia symptoms early can reduce depression symptoms and also prevent them from becoming worse in the future.
Modest changes may reduce depression risk and protect against insomnia.
For that, we don’t need to rush off to see a specialist. Well, what we can do for lifestyle changes that mitigate depression or both. Physical exercise is very important for good sleep and protection against depression, as are healthy eating habits and staying off alcohol. Moreover, quitting smoking may be helpful. Be active and go back to the things that you’re interested in, and give you pleasure. Opening up to a trusted or bosom friend about the struggles with insomnia or depressed mood may help.
If there are still issues after that, one might need to seek help from well experienced healthcare professional. Sleeping pills may be just temporary relief.
In long term, drug dependence may develop. And the medicines won’t. address underlying causes of insomnia. A hypnotic treatment works well in the short term.
But it doesn’t do anything to address sleep issues in a sustained way. Learning other techniques that may more effectively help is another option. Cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I ) is such a technique. It involves thought-stopping and physical-and-mental relaxation tactics and can have a positive effect on both disorders.
if the above-mentioned ones are not enough, you can try other simpler ways. Mindfulness and the regular taking of religious works are among them. They are not the road-end. There are more ways in psychiatric medicine to treat them; like talk therapy and antidepressants. Not all antidepressants have the same impact on insomnia. Once or more in a lifetime almost everybody may encounter insomnia or depression or both. It is unavoidable. With advanced knowledge and treatments in both fields, a sufferer today may get better chances to heal.
But you are the owner of your mind and body. The duty to care for them is mostly yours. Not health professionals.