Sleep and depression are intricately related. Sleep has a huge impact on mental health with almost all patients diagnosed with insomnia being diagnosed with clinical depression. Interestingly, the opposite is also true: those with mental health illnesses such as anxiety and depression, go on to develop sleep issues.
It is unclear what comes first- the sleep disorder or the mental disorder so treatment usually aims to address both concurrently.
Sleep disturbance is a key feature of clinical depression as many people suffering from depression do not get the ideal amount of sleep (between 7,5 and 9 hours). This amount of sleep is the ideal time for the brain to bake up and balance helpful sleep hormones such as dopamine and seretonin.
In terms of over-sleeping, only 15% of those who suffer from depressive symptoms over-sleep with most of these being young adults diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder (manic depressive episodes). Over-sleeping (anything more more than 9 hours) is linked to late sleep onset, decreased levels of seretonin and weight-gain. This wreaks havoc with the body's regulatory hormones- negatively impacting focus and concentration (over-sleepers experience fogginess), motivation (over-sleepers feel apathetic) and energy levels (over-sleepers battle to get going and feel exhausted despite the extra sleep).
Excessive daytime sleepiness is also a feature of depression. Whether getting too little or too much sleep, those suffering from depression report feeling drowsy during daylight hours. This can hamper their task performance- at home and at work and always has a negative impact on those people closest to them.
Protect your mental health and address sleep issues urgently. Practice good sleep hygiene. Try to align your daily rhythms with the day-night cycle. And seek help if you are experiencing a change in appetite, a change in sleeping patterns, feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and/or suicidal thoughts.