The lingering strong feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and hopelessness shouldn’t be dismissed so lightly by both the affected individuals and their families and friends! This is also true for the persistent inability to attain and maintain restful sleep each night because it’s also a health issue.
These symptoms have medical terms – clinical depression and insomnia. These medical conditions are closely associated with each other although emphasis must also be made that insomnia isn’t just caused by depression.
Link Between Clinical Depression and Insomnia
Before we discuss the close link between these two medical conditions, let’s first take a look at their definitions for a better understanding. Clinical depression, often known simply as depression, is a mood disorder that results in the affected individual experiencing strong and persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and helplessness, as well as being worthless and guilty. These feelings can become so intense that these will keep the affected person from enjoying a normal life.
But everybody feels sad, hopeless and helpless at many points in their lives, you say. Yes, this is true but when these feelings affect your ability to perform daily life activities, perhaps even make you feel suicidal, then you should see your doctor. You may or may not have clinical depression and a mental health specialist can make a definitive diagnosis.
Insomnia refers to the difficulty of attaining and/or maintaining restful sleep. Health experts agree that adults need 7-9 hours of sleep every night but this isn’t possible for insomniacs, the term used for people who have been diagnosed with insomnia. Its common symptoms include difficulty in falling asleep, getting too little sleep, and being unable to get back to sleep, as well as being disturbed from your sleep frequently (i.e., awaken often).
When you have untreated depression, you may suffer from insomnia, too. Your overwhelming feelings can interrupt your sleeping patterns, such as when you can’t sleep because your mind is on overdrive. You ponder about people, places and situations over which you have little to no control, thus, you lose sleep over them.
But a sleep disorder like insomnia doesn’t cause depression in itself, a point we must emphasize to avoid misunderstanding, although the former can worsen the symptoms of the latter. For example, you may feel more anxious about the future because you feel more lethargic during the day, no thanks to your insomnia the night before. Think of it as one condition fueling the fires of the other.
Hope for Clinical Depression and Insomnia
Fortunately, not everything is doom and gloom for people with clinical depression who also have symptoms of insomnia! There’s solid hope for recovery, thanks to the combination of medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle habits. The key is in the patient and doctor, as well as the family and friends of the patient, working together in achieving the right treatment plan.
Let’s assume that you are the patient here although it may also be your family member or friend. Your treatment plan will largely depend on the seriousness of your depression although medications and psychotherapy are usually combined.
You and your doctor will work together in getting the right combination of medications, such as antidepressants and supplements, since it’s a trial-and-error process. If you have insomnia, then your doctor will likely prescribe hypnotic medications or sedating antidepressants, both of which are formulated to help patients sleep better.
While these medications are of significant help in enjoying better sleep, you should still adopt healthy sleeping habits that can ease your symptoms. Your psychiatrist will actually recommend these measures so that you can keep your depressive symptoms at bay so you can enjoy a more normal life.
- Relaxation methods, such as meditating using yoga techniques, reading a good book, and listening to soft music, will increase your body’s relaxed feelings. You will then be more able to focus your mind on positive things and fall asleep faster.
- Write down your to-do list for tomorrow a few hours before your bedtime. But be careful about being carried away by the apparent enormity of the tasks by focusing on the most important things. Tell yourself that you will face these concerns tomorrow, not today, so that you can avoid being too anxious about things you have no control (e.g., the rising of the sun tomorrow) anyway.
- Ensure that you have a conducive sleeping environment in your bedroom. You should remove the distractions, such as televisions, laptops and tablets, because their content and glare will affect your ability to sleep faster and better. Your bedroom should have a cool temperature while your bed should provide firm yet comfortable support, which can be enjoyed with a Tempurpedic.
- Avoid the consumption of food and drinks that can keep you up at night. These include coffee, alcohol, energy drinks and soda, and cigarettes as well as fatty, spicy and salty foods.
You should also consider taking a warm bath before going to bed, using a white noise machine to block out unwanted sounds, and wearing an eye mask.
There’s always hope even when everything seems hopeless with depression and insomnia! You have to reach out to the people who love you so that hope will be within your reach.