Understanding the Bidirectional Relationship Between Depression and Insomnia

Jul 06, 2023

Understanding the Bidirectional Relationship Between Depression and Insomnia

When you find yourself facing multiple health issues — physical or mental — you may think of them as separate problems. However, they’re often related. Do you have insomnia? Depression? Both? Here’s what you should know.

There’s a lot to keep straight in everyday life, so it’s no wonder people love making lists and organizing things into categories. This approach can work with several things, but it can fall short when it comes to your health and wellness.

In reality, many health conditions have intimate links. In fact, one issue can trigger another — and vice versa. That’s exactly the relationship that exists between depression and insomnia. And that’s where our experts can help.

Our team at Associates in Behavioral Science understands the intimate connection between quality sleep and mental health. If you struggle with depression, insomnia, or both, it’s important to understand how these disorders go hand-in-hand.

Depression and insomnia

People often seek medical help for depression or insomnia, but they’re often two sides of the same coin. More simply put? Depression can affect your sleep, and lack of sleep can lead to depression.

It usually doesn’t come as much of a surprise to people to learn depression can affect your sleep. After all, up to 75% of people living with a depressive disorder experience disrupted sleep. What’s less known is that sleep problems significantly increase a person’s chances of depression. In truth, it can increase your chances of developing depressive symptoms nearly 10 times.

And this bidirectional relationship is quite straightforward: Not getting enough quality sleep reduces emotional resilience and positive mood by 31%. So technically, it doesn’t matter whether you’re missing out on sleep because of insomnia or depression; you’ll be less capable of dealing with the challenges and stresses of everyday life.

Since these two issues have such an intimate connection, it’s essential not to ignore a potential problem. Instead, learning to recognize the signs of an issue can get you the treatment you need to restore your sleep, health, and emotional wellness as soon as possible.

Spotting the signs of depression and insomnia

It’s easy to assume that the warning signs of a sleep or mood disorder are obvious, but they can start deceptively mild. As a result, it’s important to familiarize yourself with common issues that can indicate a more serious problem, such as:

  • Problems falling or staying asleep
  • Suffering from fatigue throughout the day
  • Having physical discomfort, like digestive issues, joint pain, or chronic headaches
  • Experiencing sleep apnea symptoms, like loud snoring or stoppages in breathing
  • Gaining or losing weight
  • Feeling sad, helpless, worthless, or hopeless
  • Having memory problems or difficulty concentrating
  • Withdrawing or isolating from others
  • Losing interest in things you enjoyed
  • Thinking about death or suicide

Do these symptoms sound familiar? Don’t wait to talk to an expert. Even if they seem minor, early intervention can prevent them from worsening.

Treating depression and sleep disorders

Last but not least, it’s important to note that although depressive disorders and sleep issues can go hand in hand, they’re different disorders. That means you need a holistic treatment strategy to address each of these problems in a comprehensive way. You can’t assume one treatment will solve both problems.

Our team has the experience you need to identify what’s behind your sleep issues and depression. That way, we can provide personalized guidance to get your symptoms under control. 

For instance, if we suspect a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, you may need a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device to restore healthy sleep. However, if a depressive disorder triggers your insomnia, your treatment plan could include therapy or medication.

However, there are lifestyle changes that can help both depression and sleep problems, like insomnia. These healthy lifestyle habits often include:

  • Adopting a healthy diet
  • Exercising a minimum of 30 minutes a day
  • Setting — and sticking to — a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends
  • Limiting time online, especially social media
  • Learning meditation and breathing exercises
  • Avoiding screens for at least two hours before bedtime
  • Adding relaxing pre-bedtime rituals, like reading, warm baths, or meditation
  • Building and nurturing personal relationships with friends or family

With our help, you can reclaim those elusive ZZZs and start feeling like yourself again.

Could you have insomnia, depression, or both? Contact us at Associates in Behavioral Science or book an appointment online at our Berwyn, Illinois office today.