Sleep Problems and Depression

Sleep affects most individuals in the world. More than 65 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder. Most of the sleep problems are caused by depression. Sleep problems are not a condition that needs to be taken for granted. It can take a toll on a person’s life. Sleep disorders can cause depression and anxiety. The risk of poor sleep is not always tiredness. Sleepless nights can lead to poor performance at school, work and health diseases. In this blog, we’d like to give the things you need to know about sleep disorders and its association with depression.

Importance of Sleep and Its Benefits

Sleep is important on a day-to-day basis. Our body needs rest, and it is the key to a healthy lifestyle. Sleep is beneficial to our overall health and well-being. The researchers suggest that adults need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a day. Sleep is necessary to a person’s brain function. It involves how nerve cells interact with each neuron in the brain. Having a good sleep positively affects most of the organs in the body and brain functions. There are five stages of sleep from stage 1 (light sleep), stages 3 and 4 (Deep sleep) and stage 5 or known as rapid eye movement(REM) sleep. During the night, REM occurs in every 90 minutes.

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Here are the health benefits of having a good sleep:

  1. Sleep improves thinking functioning. Researchers found that during a night of sleep, the brain is busy recalling everything wherein the brain has an attachment to daily events, learning, and memories. Therefore, having a good night sleep will help you to have a good memory and help you process things better.
  2. Sleep lower your risk of depression. Sleep can improve your moods and can reduce your stress. Having a good sleep makes you feel more relaxed, while sleep deprivation makes you easily irritated and uncomfortable.
  3. Sleep can make you have a healthy weight. Researchers found out that people who get a good sleep tend to lose fat which is 50% of their weight. Sleep can be associated with metabolism since they are connected in one part of the brain.
  4. Sleep can enhance athletic performance. If you are an athletic or active type of person, then having a good sleep can make you more active and energetic. Therefore, stay asleep at night and remember that quality of sleep can improve accuracy and mental well-being.
  5. Quality of sleep can decrease your chance of developing diseases. Researchers say that quality and not the quantity of sleep can have an impact on various health condition. A report says that poor sleep can put you at higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

Sleep Disorder or Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder

Sleep problems cause difficulty to fall asleep or not having a good night sleep due to some episodes of wakefulness at times. Sleep disorders produce long-term suffering from sleep problems. The sleep-wake disorder is a condition of having recurrence sleep problems that already interfere with your daily life.

Sleep disorder has its types. Here are the common sleep disorders:

  1. Sleep apnea. It is a sleep-related breathing disorder. During sleep apnea, you have the sleeping and waking phase because it suddenly stops your breathing during sleep. Your breath stops during sleep that can suddenly wake you up.Sleep apnea has two types: The obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive is the most prevalent and caused by blocked airways. While central sleep apnea(CSA)has no blockage on the airway. However, your brain or the CNS doesn’t tell your body to breathe.
  2. Restless legs syndrome. It is a movement disorder that causes a strong urge to move a leg even an arm. It is like a tingling, prickling and burning sensation during resting or sitting and lying down. This disorder makes you have more restless night.
  3. Night terrors. It is most common for children because of an occasional nightmare. It happens before the deep sleep, and it occurs about 2 or 4 hours after a child falls asleep.On the other hand, circadian rhythm sleep disorder is a condition when the internal body clock is disrupted. The circadian rhythm is another term for “internal body clock.” It controls the timing of your sleep that is based on the 24-hour cycle of biological processes. The most common circadian rhythm sleep disorders include:

Narcolepsy
It is a long-term neurological disorder that involves excessive sleepiness and uncontrollable falling asleep during the daytime. People with narcolepsy experience strong sleepiness during the day. They may also have interrupted sleep at night. The person with narcolepsy may fall asleep during their usual activity such as eating, driving and talking. This problem occurs because your brain cannot regulate sleeping and waking cycle. During daytime, they tend to sleep and sleep.

Shift work sleep disorder
It often occurs to people who work on a rotation shift or split and graveyard shift (works at night). The conflict on the work schedules affects the body’s circadian rhythm. It may lead to difficulty falling asleep since your body clock is struggling to adjust to the change. It often results in insomnia and excessive sleepiness.

Jet lag
It also affects the internal body clock because of a time zone difference. Having a long-haul flight can result in jet lag. It is a temporary sleep disorder because some individuals find it hard adjusting to a new time zone.

Why Do Sleep Problems Associated With Depression?

Depression is a mental disorder related to gloomy mood. People with depression may often felt excessive sadness and feeling worthless that may lead to suicidal thoughts. One of the depressive symptoms is sleep disturbances. That is why most people who have insomnia may be caused by depression. However, the sleep disorder is not always related to depression, but various factors can cause it. A sleep disorder can be a contributing factor to develop depression. It is because sleep affects your mood. Depression is a mood disorder that makes people extremely sad. For sure, you heard it a lot that sleep a quality sleep produce a good mood. Lack of sleep makes you feel more irritable and more vulnerable to stress.

Furthermore, studies have found that almost 20% of people with sleep disorders are most likely to develop depression. Some theory said that imbalances in the neurotransmitters in the brain affect your mood and sleep. They have explained that imbalances in the monoamines (serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine) is highly correlated to sleep, mood and eat. That is why depression affects the quality of sleep and sleep disturbances may cause depression and anxiety.

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In conclusion, sleep problems are related to mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. Various sleep problems can affect all individuals. One of the most important things to understand, sleep is not a waste, but it is essential for your body to function correctly. Having a sleep problem may put you at risk in developing a medical condition and psychological disorder. Do not get used to having poor sleep, help yourself and consult a physician.

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