Depression and Insomnia are Often Seen, and Treated, Together

Depression and insomnia often go hand in hand and the relationship between the two conditions can be complicated. But regardless of whether your depression or your insomnia manifested itself first, you deserve to find relief. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

What is Depression?

The American Psychiatric Association says that nearly 7% of adults experience some form of depression every year and defines depression as:

A condition that causes feelings of sadness and/or the loss of interest in activities a person once enjoyed. A range of emotional and physical problems can result from depression and impact a person’s ability to function in life, at work, and at home.

Symptoms of depression can range from mild to severe and may include:

  • Feeling sad or having a “depressed” mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities previously enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite and/or unintentionally gaining or losing weight
  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping more
  • Decreased energy or increased fatigue
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity (such as hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed-down movements and speech (such that other people notice)
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating, thinking, or making decisions
  • Contemplations of death or suicide.

Experts say that to be diagnosed with depression, a person must have been experiencing these symptoms for at least two weeks. It’s also important for a medical professional to rule out other potential underlying medical issues that can cause similar symptoms (like a vitamin deficiency, thyroid problems, or brain tumors).

Depression and Insomnia: Overlap of Symptoms

Insomnia, as we know, is defined as difficulty falling or staying asleep, even when you want to. The National Sleep Foundation adds that insomnia is usually accompanied by lack of energy, concentration difficulties, mood disturbances, and decreased performance at work or at school. Sounds a bit like depression, right?

Indeed, depression and insomnia are often seen together.

According to the Journal of Psychiatric Research, 60% of adults meeting criteria for major depressive disorder complain of insomnia and approximately 10%–20% of individuals diagnosed with insomnia meet criteria for major depressive disorder. Research is ongoing to determine whether there is a causal relationship between depression and insomnia and experts sometimes disagree about which condition usually comes first. As the National Sleep Foundation says the “relationship between sleep and depressive illness is complex— depression may cause sleep problems and sleep problems may cause or contribute to depressive disorders.”

Treatment of Insomnia Helps Depression

A study published in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment found that the treatment of insomnia in patients with both insomnia and depressive symptoms helped to not only relieve sleep troubles but also depression. In another study, 70% of people with insomnia and depression who received treatment for their insomnia experienced a decrease in their depression.

Learn more about the benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-i) and how Circady will be making CBT-i available at home utilizing video chat along with an app and mobile, wearable, and home-sensor technologies for interactive, expert, customized sleep therapy wherever you are.

We also encourage you to talk with your healthcare provider about your personal medical history and any concerns or questions you may have about your health or emotional wellbeing.

Circady cannot provide emergency services or emergency counseling. If you are in crisis or this is an emergency, please call 911 or otherwise seek immediate medical attention from qualified professionals. The U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also a valuable resource and provides free, confidential support for people in distress.