Insomnia and depression seem to go hand-in-hand and not in a good way! So, the question arises as to which one causes the other.
The jury is still out on this and most experts believe the two are interlinked and one leads to another. However, a recent study by Canadian scientists tilts the balance towards insomnia and indicates that this, in fact, precedes depression most often than not. Thus, they opine that treating insomnia is a good start towards curing depression.
What is Insomnia and What are the Causes?
Insomnia is medically defined as “difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep” despite conducive conditions for sleep. Symptoms include fatigue, low energy, problems with concentrating and mood changes. This condition can be classified as either acute or chronic.
Acute insomnia lasts for a short period and is brought on by specific instances such as the night before a major life event like examinations or an interview or a particularly stressful and tiring day. Chronic insomnia is diagnosed if sleep evades you over a significant period of time. An approximate timeline is three nights per week for over at least three months or so.
What is Depression?
Again depression can be a momentary or lingering feeling of sadness. If this feeling persists for more than two weeks, it might be an indication of clinical depression. Symptoms include fatigue, feelings of hopelessness, guilt, or worthlessness. Irritability, restlessness, and difficulty in concentrating or making decisions might also be present.
How Does Insomnia Lead to Depression?
You do not have to be a genius to figure out that consistent lack of sleep is going to have a significant impact on all aspects of life. Being unable to sleep or failure to get a good night’s rest on a regular basis can make you anxious and this, in turn, can lead to depression.
While treating insomnia, the focus is more on cognitive behavioural therapy rather than medications. The aim here is to improve the individual’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Good sleep habits such as going to bed at a regular time every night, avoiding distractions such as a television in the bedroom, and substituting positive thoughts for negative ones are some suggestions offered by therapists.
Improving Sleep Conditions
This is where the role of a good mattress comes to the fore. A firm mattress can make a world of difference to insomniacs. It is easy to be awakened when a partner gets restless and the mattress moves disturbing your sleep. Investing in a good pocket spring mattress or a memory foam mattress can prove beneficial in improving your quality of sleep.
Try changing your sleep habits and your mattress if you feel this is causing your insomnia. But if symptoms persist and you still cannot get a full night’s sleep, then seeking medical opinion is the best way to go. Do not delay in getting the help you need, because the sooner you get better, the quicker you can move ahead with your life goals and ambitions.