What comes to mind when you hear the phrase sleeping like a baby? Most of you automatically would say is having a stress-free, comfortable and peaceful night’s sleep. This is true, but unfortunately, some people have trouble sleeping. There are over 100 sleep disorders, and the most common ones are sleep apnea, sleep paralysis and insomnia. Researchers claim that insomnia and depression are closely related. In this article, we will focus on insomnia and depression more pointedly, the treatments involved, causes, the relationship between the two and ways to cope with the conditions.
What is insomnia?
Insomnia can be described as the difficulty or inability to fall or stay asleep. Most, if not, all victims have poor sleeping patterns generally known as the sleep-wake cycle. They experience low energy, fatigue, poor concentration, mood swings, lower productivity, and depression. The two types of insomnia are primary and secondary. Primary insomnia is when an individual has trouble falling asleep without any health issue like diabetes while secondary insomnia is when a person experiences sleep problems because of an underlying health problem like diabetes, asthma, body pains or even depression.
Symptoms of Insomnia
The main symptoms are sleepiness during the day, irritability, fatigue, poor concentration and low productivity at school or work. Do not confuse having a sad day or week as depression which usually leads to insomnia. There are many causes of insomnia; some of which include:
Lack of Vitamin D
Usually, light is supposed to wake you up in the morning and when it gets dark is supposed to help you go to sleep. This is all controlled by the circadian, and there are hormones involved. You have a clock in your brain known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus that is triggered by light and dark. When out in the sunlight, you get more vitamin D, which acts as an anti-depressant. Mostly, during winter months people get more depressed because of the lack of the sunlight. Darkness alleviates the chances of melatonin stimulation. Melatonin as a supplement creates some sense of tiredness, which helps you to sleep better.
Lack of Vitamin B1
Make sure you have Vitamin B1. The lack of this vital vitamin leads to excessive restlessness, nervousness, difficulty in winding down at night and excessive thinking. A person suffering from a gastric bypass affects the absorption of B1.
Deprivation of essential minerals
Minerals that help one sleep are magnesium, and potassium, as they calm and relax your nervous system. Vegetables are the primary sources of these minerals.
Pre-diabetic or diabetic problems
Having insulin resistance, which is a pre-diabetic problem can affect your ability to sleep. For instance, you find yourself waking up numerous times at night to go to the bathroom which disrupts a good night’s sleep. This type of insomnia and depression are mostly related.
Hyperglycemia, which is condition resulting from low blood sugar occurs when an individual wakes up in the middle of the night for no reason. It results from a drop in blood sugars and the stimulation of adrenaline.
Digestion affects your quality of sleep, especially at night. For instance, if you have dinner and sit in front of the TV and start snacking, by the time you retire to bed you are stuffed. Make sure you do not eat anything substantial.
Going outside is an effective method when it comes to relaxing the adrenal gland, which is involved in stress and many other issues around sleep.
Medication and alcohol
Drugs, psychotropic substances and alcohol are some of the primary sources of insomnia. One thing about insomnia is that it varies on how long it lasts and how frequent it occurs. The short-term one can last only for a few days, and the long-term one can lead to extreme insomnia cases. The causes are not only physical but also psychological. An intense, stressful event like death, sleep deprivation, sleeping in a different bed in a noisy and hot room can increase the effects of this condition. Furthermore, some medicines that alter mood aid to keep your cholesterol levels under control but unfortunately can induce insomnia symptoms. In chronic insomnia cases, the causes are mainly extreme anxiety, body pains, and depression.
Avoid stressful events
There are people in your lives that add more stress than it is necessary. Your health should come first above anything else. Therefore, you should try avoiding stressful events and people even if it means breaking off a relationship.
Ways to deal with Insomnia
You can adopt various ways to reduce the effects of insomnia and to have a better night’s sleep. Preventing or coping with insomnia always goes a long way in managing depression too. The methods below are practical, simple to follow and do not involve drastic changes.
Treat the underlying cause
The first step is to pinpoint what is making you depressed and sleep-deprived. Ensure you eliminate all things that make you struggle to fall asleep like watching TV late in the night, using your laptop and mobile phones in bed, excessive bedroom heat and noise.
Have a regular sleep pattern
You should try and sleep at the same time each day. If failing to do so, you have higher chances of insomnia and depression. You tend to wake up full of fatigue causing the rest of the day to be gloomy.
Do not change your bedroom
Another way to keep insomnia at bay is to use your bedroom and same bed while resting at night. Most people suffering from insomnia claim to shift resting areas frequently and this leads to poor night’s sleep and alertness during the day.
Avoid stimulants before bed
Never drink coffee and tea or eat chocolate just before you go to bed because they contain caffeine. Caffeine can cause insomnia, restlessness and nervousness, vomiting, stomach irritation, and anxiety. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid such diet at night.
Engage in calming actions
Read a book to keep your mind free from distractions, anxieties, and overthinking, which are not suitable components of a restful sleep. There are several other ways of getting calm. They include listening to insomnia music, use of insomnia cure app, yoga, and many other relaxing routines.
What is depression?
Depression or depressive disorder is a more prolonged state of sadness than usual or a chemical imbalance in the brain. Depression is the main cause of disability in the world. In the United States, close to 10% of adults and over 350 million people worldwide are affected or struggle with depression. However, because it is a mental illness, it can be a lot harder to understand. One primary source of confusion is the difference between having depression and just feeling depressed. Almost everyone has low moments occasionally.
When someone gets a poor grade, retrenchment, arguments, getting rained on, business losses can bring out the feeling of sadness. Sometimes there is no trigger at all. It just comes out from nowhere with zero warnings. Then when the unpleasant circumstances change, the bad feelings you had instantly disappear. Clinical depression is a medical disorder, and it is more difficult to treat it. It lingers for at least two consecutive weeks and significantly interferes with one’s ability to work, play or even show love to someone.
Symptoms of depression
Depression has different symptoms including low mood, loss of interest in things you usually enjoy, appetite changes, feeling worthless or excessively guilty, restlessness, poor concentration, recurring thoughts of suicide, loss of energy and the main is excess or too little sleep (insomnia). According to psychiatric guidelines, you are eligible for a diagnosis of depression, if you have at least five of the above symptoms.
Depression has both physical and behavioral manifestations. Some causes of depression include blunted circadian rhythm or changes in the REM and slow waves parts of your sleep cycle cause. The interaction between the environment and genes has been a close link to a state of distress, but neuroscientists have not found a definite cause. Due to the vague symptoms, it makes it harder for someone to know who is struggling with it and who is not. National Institute of Mental Health studies show it takes the average person with a mental illness over ten years to ask for help.
There are ways to treat or lessen the depression state a sufferer has. Medication and therapy complement each other to boost your brain chemicals. Some of the highly recommended depression treatment methods include:
- In extreme cases, an electro-convulsing therapy which is controlled seizure in the patient’s brain is quite useful.
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation
- Talk openly about the condition. Depression can be a nightmare if one is lonely. Discussing with friends, family members or a doctor can help mitigate the instances of getting depressive thoughts.
- Using medication
Research shows asking someone about suicidal thoughts reduces their suicide risks and erode stigma. There are also several ways of managing depression including the following:
- Being active and also exercising regularly. Exercises help to regulate the brain chemicals and thus helping to minimize the depressive thoughts. Exercises and being active also give an individual purpose in life thus reducing instances of depressive thoughts.
- Depression can also be managed by setting achievable targets. Setting lofty targets can be stressful to an individual. Therefore setting targets that can be achieved and celebrating the wins can help to light up your moods.
Relationship between Sleep, Insomnia and Depression
There are high chances that a person suffering from depression will have insomnia. It is not a personality trait or a weakness, and a sufferer should not compare it like a broken arm. Depression is a chemical imbalance that is seen in depression which might also be contributing to insomnia. It is better to treat your depression before treating insomnia. The use of medications such as anti-depressants, talk therapy and having a good sleep behavior might help to cope with your condition. Most patients prefer seeing a psychologist because there is no use of medications.
To conclude, a healthy sleep pattern is significant in your lifestyle. Never self-diagnose yourself if you find yourself suddenly feeling sad. Remember that depression causes insomnia and seeking medication is the first step. Lastly, ensure you have a regular sleep pattern and avoid people or things that create stress in your life.