The link between depression and sleeping badly is undeniable. But can depression lead to a chronic sleep disorder? The answer is – yes, it can. However, But the relationship between sleep issues and depression is complex, and the causal links can go both ways.
Sleep disorders are defined as chronic conditions that impact negatively on the way you sleep. Effects on health and quality of life are symptoms of sleep disorders. These effects include insomnia, constant waking, restlessness, and irregular sleeping hours. Excessive daytime sleepiness is one of the most common symptoms, as is constant tiredness and lethargy.
Depression can be experienced as an acute episode. However, more commonly, it is either recurring, or a chronic, as in Bipolar Disorder. In the latter case, chronic depression, or depressive episodes, can result in all the symptoms of a sleep disorder. But is it the depression causing the sleep disorder, or is it the other way around? It’s hard to say.
Links between depression and sleep disorders:
Depression can result in sleep disorders. However, the sleep disruptions could be acute, such as severe insomnia, along with the depressive episode and the anxiety that is symptomatic of cute depression. In most cases, any ongoing changes in sleep patterns and sleep quality would come from either a change in sleep habits, or from biochemical changes in the brain caused by (or also causing) the depression.
On the other hand, sleep disorders (with other causes e.g. apnea) can cause depression. In fact, there is a very strong correlation between depression and sleep apnea.
Lack of sleep and low-quality sleep that impacts on physical health, can also impact on mental health. If you are tired all the time, you may struggle with basic tasks, work, and life demands. This often leads to, or worsens, melancholy. Importantly – if it does – the depressive symptoms then add to the sleep problems and increase the severity of the sleep disorder.
In conclusion: Sleep disorders and depression are linked. They share many symptoms, and each condition can cause or worsen the other.