Depression and Sleep Research Note
By Reader's Digest Editors
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Eight out of ten people with depression also have sleep problems. For many, it’s insomnia. They have difficulty falling asleep, wake frequently during the night, or wake up early in the morning and just can’t get back to sleep. For others, depression leads to oversleeping. Getting out of bed is difficult, but no amount of sleep is enough to lift the grinding fatigue. Research shows that depression actually alters the “architecture” of sleep—prolonging the time it takes to fall asleep, shortening your total sleep time, and also robbing you of deep, restorative sleep and shifting REM sleep (the stage when we dream) from late in the nightly sleep cycle to early in the cycle.Fast Facts:
- Poor sleep can make depression worse, by raising levels of the stress hormone cortisol and leaving you tired and irritable.
- Do all you can to set the stage for great sleep: Skip caffeine after lunch; make your bedroom cool, dark and comfortable; relax before bed (no TV or computers).
- Don’t rely on alcohol as a sleep aid. It is a sedative, but interferes with healthy sleep and increases urination—you’ll wake up more often at night just to use the bathroom.
- Try progressive muscle relaxation, meditation or a simple breathing exercise to off-load stress before sleep.
- Antidepressants—selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (such as Prozac) and tricyclic antidepressants (such as Elavil)—improve sleep significantly, studies show.
everydayhealth.com — “Depression and sleep are closely linked. Learn why lack of sleep can be an effect of depression as well as make depression symptoms worse.” View full resource at everydayhealth.com
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