Have you ever find yourself sleeping much more than you normally do? If you do, it might be because of depression. Sleep problems and depression may also share risk factors and biological features and the two conditions may respond to some of the same treatment strategies. Sleep problems are also associated with more severe depressive illness.
What is the connection between sleep and depression?
Problems with sleep are one of the main signs of depression. You can either sleep too much or not get enough sleep when you have depression. For people who suffer from oversleeping, or hypersomnia, is actually a medical disorder. In most depression patients, lack of sleep, or insomnia, is very common. Vice versa, people with insomnia have 10 times higher risk of developing depression than those who sleep well.
Depression causes you to feel sad, hopeless, worthless, and helpless. Sure, we all feel sad or blue from time to time. But when you feel sad for long periods and the feelings become intense, the depressed mood and its associated physical symptoms can keep you from living a normal life. Other depression symptoms include:
- Feeling extremely sad or empty;
- Feeling hopeless, worthless, or guilty;
- Feeling very fatigued and slow or anxious and irritable;
- Loss of enjoyment in things, which were once pleasurable;
- Lack of energy;
- Difficulty concentrating, thinking, or making decisions;
- Changes in appetite that lead to changes in weight;
- An increase or decrease in the need for sleep.
If you have at least five of these symptoms for more than two weeks, you should see your doctor for suitable diagnosis.
Why is sleep so important?
Of course, not everyone who oversleeps has a sleep disorder. Other possible causes of oversleeping include the use of certain substances, such as alcohol and some prescription medications. Other medical conditions, including depression, can cause people to oversleep. And then there are people who simply want to sleep a lot.
People who sleep too much or don’t have enough sleep is at a higher risk of diabetes.
Weight gain can come from oversleeping. A study on the link between sleep and obesity showed that people who slept for nine or 10 hours every night were 21% more likely to become obese over a six-year period than were people who slept between seven and eight hours.
You might think a good sleep can cure your headache. The truth is, sleeping longer on the weekend or vacation can cause headaches for some people. Oversleeping can affect the neurotransmitters in the brain that can cause headaches in the morning.
Back in the old days, people with back pain are often asked to take more rest. However, modern science proves that this old remedy is wrong and can even make your condition worse. Regular exercise is needed to maintain flexibility. If you have back pain, check with your doctor. They might recommend against sleeping more than usual, when possible.
Although insomnia is more commonly linked to depression than oversleeping is, roughly 15% of people with depression sleep too much. This may in turn make their depression worse. That’s because regular sleep habits are important to the recovery process.
Multiple studies have found that people who sleep nine or more hours a night have significantly higher death rates than people sleeping seven to eight hours a night. No specific reason for this correlation has been determined. But researchers found that depression and low socioeconomic status are also associated with longer sleep. They speculate these factors could be related to the observed increase in mortality for people who sleep too much.
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