One of the key signs that you may be suffering from clinical depression is an inability to fall asleep and remain asleep – which is not to say that insomnia or any other sleep disorder is necessarily caused by depression in the first place. After all, one in every three American adults is affected by insomnia at some point and for a variety of reasons.
However, there is an established link between depression and sleeplessness. Depression is a mood disorder that can cause you to feel intense and frequent sadness, hopelessness, and helplessness; and when your mind is overwhelmed with anxiety, it can be impossible to relax and get a good night’s sleep.
How Can I Break the Cycle of Insomnia and Depression?
Since normal sleep provides both physical and mental restoration, a lack of sleep will naturally lead to increased fatigue, irritability, and a decline in your level of mental fitness. Insomnia and depression, therefore, are often caught in a vicious cycle that can be detrimental to your health.
There are, however, ways to break the cycle and treat both your depression and insomnia, depending on the severity and underlying cause of your condition. For example, your doctor may recommend a combination of antidepressant medication and psychotherapy to treat your depression. The value of talk therapy is that it can improve your coping skills and can change any negative attitudes that are causing your depression and, at the same time, help you develop better sleeping habits.
Sleep Aids and Mood Helpers
Sedating antidepressants that can improve your mood and help you sleep include:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Zoloft, Prozac, and Paxil.
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as Cymbalta, Effexor, and Pristiq.
- Tricyclic antidepressants such as Pamelor and Elavil.
On the other hand, if your insomnia is worse than your depression, your doctor may simply prescribe a hypnotic or sleeping pill such as Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata, or Restoril.
In addition, there are several lifestyle modifications that can help resolve your insomnia and, in the process, perhaps also help lessen your depression:
- Meditating, reading, or listening to soft music before bedtime is not only relaxing, but it also helps you focus on more pleasurable or positive thoughts.
- Simple stretching and conditioning exercises before bedtime can help relieve stress and anxiety, better enabling you to fall and stay asleep.
- Deep breathing exercises also help to calm you down and reduce worries that prevent you from falling asleep.
- Avoid light emitted from a bright screen – such as a computer monitor or television – prior to bedtime, because it can suppress the release of melatonin, which is the natural hormone that sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to sleep. Your brain can become subconsciously confused that the light is from the sun, thereby keeping you awake.
- Take a warm shower before going to bed. This will help support deep sleep as your body cools down. Also, set your thermostat so that your bedroom maintains a cool temperature.
- If noise and/or light prevent you from sleeping, make sure your bedroom has blackout shades, or wear earplugs and a sleep mask. You can also use a white-noise machine to soothingly drown out household sounds or to break total silence.
Trusted Doctor in Dearborn, MI
If you are having trouble sleeping and/or are exhibiting signs of clinical depression, see a doctor who is experienced in successfully treating patients with this condition. One can lead to the other, and you simply need a personal medical evaluation and recommendations about possible treatments that will work for you.
For more information about what to do about your insomnia and depression, schedule an appointment with Dr. Sham by calling us today at (313) 451-8253 or by filling out our online appointment request form now. We look forward to helping you start sleeping better and feeling great every morning again.