How to deal with sleep disorders in depression

Such a mental disorder as depression is often accompanied by sleep disorders. Patients cannot fall asleep, long tossing and turning in bed and scrolling through dark thoughts, and in the morning they feel tired and overwhelmed. Consider in more detail what constitutes insomnia with depression and how to treat it.

How does depression manifest itself?

Depression is a mental disorder characterized by low mood, apathy, fatigue, and dissatisfaction with life. A person suffering from this disease feels like a miserable, worthless creature, he is constantly overwhelmed with anxious, pessimistic thoughts, he feels helpless and useless. Of course, feelings such as apathy and dissatisfaction with life are periodically observed in each person. But in healthy people, they do not last long. But patients with depression or neurosis experience these feelings for a long time.

What is insomnia?

For the normal functioning of the human body needs a healthy, full sleep. Doctors say that the average inhabitant of the planet needs to sleep at least 8 hours a day. But many people cannot sleep at the proper time, not because they are busy with work, but because they have various sleep disorders. The most common sleep disorder is insomnia (insomnia).
Insomnia can occur not only as an independent disease, but also be a symptom of another disease. Mental disorders are often accompanied by insomnia. Insomnia is especially common in people with depression.

Depression and sleep disorders

During depression, during the day a person constantly scrolls negative thoughts in his head, recalls his failures, again and again experiencing negative emotions. The brain of such a person is in an excited state, and when a person goes to bed, he cannot relax at all and continues to “grind” bad thoughts by inertia. In addition, during depression, certain processes occur in the human body, leading to disruption of the biochemical balance in the brain. As a result, sleep becomes shallow and does not bring the feeling of proper rest. The patient can twist and turn in bed half the night and fall asleep only in the morning. A depressive patient is often visited by painful, disturbing dreams, which further aggravate his condition.

What causes chronic insomnia against depression?

Chronic insomnia is dangerous for a person, and insomnia resulting from depression is doubly dangerous. Sleep is an important component of the normal functioning of the body and its disturbances lead to serious health problems.

A person who is constantly in a depressed mood and at the same time is still not getting enough sleep, cannot properly perform his daily work. He becomes inattentive, distracted, forgetful, unable to concentrate on anything. Such a person often makes mistakes in work, may be injured at work or create an emergency on the road. It turns out that a person suffering from chronic sleep deprivation endangers not only himself, but also other people.

Insomnia against the background of depression causes emotional disorders. The patient becomes irritable, touchy, whiny, begins to react inadequately to the environment. He has no desire to do anything, even the most beloved activities cease to please him.

If insomnia is not treated, its consequences can be dire. A person may begin hallucinations, delusional states and orientation disorders in reality, which require immediate treatment in a hospital.

Insomnia and stress

Stress often causes sleep disorders. A person who is under stress cannot relax and fall asleep. Anxiety and experiences that accompany any stress, interfere with sleep, sleep becomes sensitive, superficial.

During acute stress, as well as during depression, a person constantly thinks about the situation that is disturbing him, trying to find a solution to the problem. The brain is working hard and can not relax. Chronic stress is characterized by superficial, intermittent sleep. A person has no need to solve any acute problem facing him, but many small, unresolved difficulties and troubles at work and in his personal life accumulate, gradually knocking him out of a rut.

The subconscious of a person who is under stress gives alarm signals, so he can wake up in the middle of the night, as if by a sharp jolt, and then he cannot fall asleep until the morning. Some people wake up very early, long before the alarm clock rings, and then they feel sleepless all day long. And the next night the situation repeats. Some kind of vicious circle is formed: stress causes insomnia, and chronic insomnia leads to stress.

Sleep Characteristics for Depression

  • In people with depression, there are some common features of the flow of sleep. Doctors distinguish the following:
  • a person falls asleep with great difficulty
  • at night he often wakes up and cannot sleep for a long time;
  • he is dominated by superficial sleep;
  • during the paradoxical phase of sleep, rapid eye movements become more frequent;
  • the fast sleep phase is replaced by a nap;
  • the fourth stage of the slow sleep phase is significantly shortened;
  • a person wakes up very early;
  • EEG data in the phase of fast sleep and in the waking state are different from the norm.

Insomnia with different types of depression

There are different types of depression, each of which is characterized by different types of sleep disorders.

  • Endogenous depression. The patient falls asleep normally, but in the middle of the night he wakes up sharply and cannot sleep until morning. In moments of awakening, he feels a sense of fear, anxiety, despair, which does not allow to fall asleep. From time to time he begins to doze, but such a dream does not give adequate rest. In the morning the patient gets up with a heavy head and a bad mood.
  • Masked (hidden) depression. This type of disease causes early awakenings, frequent sleep interruptions, a feeling of fatigue and a decrease in vitality.
  • Seasonal depression. A person suffering from this type of depression often experiences weakness and drowsiness in the morning and in the afternoon; he wants to sleep in the daytime. Night sleep is upset and does not give a feeling of rest.
  • Sad depression. At the end of the day, the patient experiences fatigue and loss of strength, falls asleep with difficulty, his sleep is sensitive and superficial, the person cannot fully relax. In the morning he wakes up very early, but he does not have the strength to get out of bed, so he continues to lie down until the alarm bell rings. After lifting a feeling of tiredness and lethargy does not pass. Sometimes headaches are added to it. When a person sleeps, he is tormented by painful, monotonous dreams with a dark plot. He usually dreams about his personal problems and failures.
  • Apathetic depression. With this disorder, a person cannot wake up early, so he sleeps longer than the allotted time. All day he experiences lethargy and drowsiness. Such a patient can lie in bed all day, not having the strength to get up and do business. He may blur the boundaries between sleep and wakefulness, and dreams become rare, poorly remembered, without bright emotional coloring.
  • Anxiety Depression. Anxious thoughts accompanying this disorder make it difficult to fall asleep. If a person does fall asleep, his sleep is often interrupted, and the final awakening occurs early in the morning. The patient often wakes up in a sweat, his dreams are anxious, filled with various negative events, the plots have a negative emotional tint and quickly replace each other.

Insomnia Treatment

Sleep disturbances in depression require treatment. It often happens that, having got rid of depression, a person automatically gets rid of insomnia. For an effective treatment of depression, an integrated approach is used – drug treatment in combination with psychotherapy. Medications – antidepressants – normalize the chemical balance in the brain. As a result, the patient’s mood rises, drowsiness and apathy disappears, and the joy of life and motivation to activity return to him. Psychotherapy works at the level of perception. At psychotherapy sessions, the doctor helps the patient to see the roots of their problems and find a solution or change attitudes towards them. The combination of these two methods gives very good results.

To combat insomnia, doctors, along with antidepressants, often prescribe sleeping pills or sedatives (tranquilizers) to patients. In order to choose the right medicine, it is necessary to conduct a thorough examination. Some patients have enough light sedatives of plant origin, while others may need serious medications that are sold only by prescription. The more severe the depression and insomnia, the more powerful the drugs prescribed by the doctor.

You should not try to pick up an antidepressant or sleeping pills on their own, without consulting a doctor. Incorrect selection of the drug can cause side effects or further aggravate the problem. For self-application only herbal soothing teas and fees are allowed, which can be bought at the pharmacy.

Depression and sleep: additional recommendations

In order for the treatment of insomnia to be effective, doctors recommend adhering to some rules that help in the fight against the disease.

  • Going to bed, you need to try to distract from all the problems. An interesting book, quiet, soothing music or meditation helps a lot in this.
  • Sport is an excellent remedy for insomnia. Even regular exercise, if done every day, gives a good effect. The main thing is not to engage in immediately before bedtime, otherwise the body will receive a charge of vivacity, and it will be problematic to sleep.
  • People suffering from insomnia, do not hurt to master the elements of yoga and other spiritual practices. One of the easiest, but effective methods of relaxation is abdominal breathing.
  • Very useful short walk in the fresh air before bedtime.
  • A few hours before bedtime you cannot drink tea, coffee, alcohol. Smoking is also undesirable. Caffeine and nicotine excite the nervous system, making it difficult to sleep.
  • Some medications contain components that can affect sleep. When taking any medication you need to carefully read the instructions. Usually there are all the side effects of the drug, including sleep disorders. Such drugs are not recommended to be taken in the evening.
  • If sleep does not come for a long time, do not torture yourself while continuing to lie in bed. It is better to get up and do some calm business, and feeling tired, go to bed again.
  • A warm shower or bath before bed will help you relax and fall asleep faster.
  • The bedroom should be regularly ventilated and kept cool in it. It is quite difficult to fall asleep in a hot and stuffy room.
  • If extraneous sounds coming from the street or from neighbors interfere with sleep, you can use earplugs (ear plugs), which are sold at the pharmacy. If the bright light interferes with the street, thick curtains or a special blindfold will help.
  • You need to teach yourself to go to bed at the same time so that the body gets used to the regime.
  • It is better to refuse daytime sleep. If a person is used to sleeping during the day, it will be quite difficult for him to sleep at night.
  • The correct approach to depression and insomnia and following all the recommendations of the doctor will help to quickly deal with the problem and return to normal sleep.

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