The signs of depression are well-known: feelings of despair, changes in weight, forgetfulness, and no appetite to name a few. But did you know that depression is often linked to a sleep disorder?
It’s a complicated relationship, scientists say. It’s not always clear in a patient if their depression is creating the sleep disorder. Sometimes it’s the sleep disorder that triggers their depression.
Signs of Insomnia
In fact, people with insomnia symptoms are 10 times as likely to develop depression than those who sleep with no problems, according to researchers at the University of North Texas. People who have insomnia may be sleepy during the day or have trouble falling asleep at night. They may wake up several times a night – sleeping for short periods of time. They can wake up too early. And once awake, they may feel as if they haven’t slept at all.
Depression and Obstructive Sleep Apnea
As many as 20 percent of all people who have been diagnosed with a depressive syndrome may also have a sleep disorder called OSA – Obstructive Sleep Apnea, according to a study at Stanford University. OSA occurs when the airway is blocked and air cannot enter the lungs. The person will have episodes of blocked breathing. They may snore loudly and have labored breathing. Then they stop breathing for a period of time and gasp or snort. Then they start snoring again. They may not be aware of these breathing patterns. It’s usually discovered by their spouse.
Fortunately, research also has shown that for some patients, once sleep apnea has been properly treated, the signs of depression may decrease. If you are taking medication to treat your depression, talk to your psychiatrist. Some prescriptions can make sleep apnea symptoms worse, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Contact the Bon Secours Sleep Center to assess your sleep problems.