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How Depression Affects Sleep (and What You Can Do About It)

There’s a reciprocal relationship between the two.

Sleep is essential for good health—in both your body and mind. Unfortunately, sleep does not come easily to everyone. Anyone with depression could tell you that sleep is an issue; it’s common to lie awake all night or want to sleep all day when you’re experiencing depression. Research agrees that sleep and depression are highly linked, and—in a cruel twist of fate—a good night’s sleep can actually be key to alleviating the symptoms of depression.

Whether problems with sleep occur before or after a depression diagnosis, there are treatments for both sleep problems and depression. Plus, evidence actually shows that when depression is treated, many people report sleeping better, and vice versa. When their sleeping problems were treated, some people noticed a decrease in their symptoms of depression. (Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep.)

In order to tackle your depression-related sleeping problems, here are some good sleep habits you might want to take on:

  • Stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Going to bed at the same time every day (even on the weekends) helps the body adjust to winding down at the right time each night.

  • Save the bedroom for only sleep and sex, and, as we all probably know, avoid alcohol, caffeine, and screen time before bed.

If you are experiencing sleeping problems, talk to your doctor. The longer you have to deal with poor sleep, the higher your risk of developing depression or other illnesses. There are many resources available and you can get help getting started on some of these tips on the link between sleep and depression.

Lauren Hale, PhD

This video features Lauren Hale, PhD. Dr. Hale is the editor in chief of the National Sleep Foundation's professional journal, Sleep Health, and an associate professor of preventive medicine in the program in public health at Stony Brook University.

Duration: 1:33. Last Updated On: Jan. 14, 2019, 6:30 a.m.
Reviewed by: Mera Goodman, MD, Preeti Parikh, MD . Review date: Jan. 14, 2019
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