The Link Between Sleep Problems And Depression

Mental health and sleep go hand-in-hand. Often, individuals with depression report experiencing insomnia, and one of the main symptoms of depression is disruption of sleep-awake cycle.   The question is, can insomnia lead to depression?

 A study published in the Journal of  Affective Disorders reported that people with insomnia are two times more likely to develop depression when compared to those who get a good night’s sleep.

Another study, looked at sleep patterns in 300 twin pairs, in children between the age of 8-10. They found that those children who reported having sleep problems, were more likely to suffer from depression at the age of 10. They also found that genes have a lot to answer for sleep problems in these twins!

It is interesting that despite evidence suggesting that sleep deprivation can contribute to depression, acute sleep deprivation is used in patients with depression to improve mood. Clearly, the relationship between sleep and mood is very complex!

Can we explain the complex interaction between sleep and mood?

We still don’t know what the exact mechanism underlying this complex interaction between mood and sleep is.  However, a potential mechanism through which sleep problems can contribute to mood disorders seems to be via  disruption to our brain clock, otherwise known as the circadian rhythms. In fact, interventions that target circadian rhythm have proven to be effective for the treatment of depression, suggesting that our brain clock plays a role in regulating our mood.

In terms of what happens in our brain, research suggest that lack of sleep may alter the connectivity between amygdala, a region of the brain associated with emotion regulation, and our frontal lobe where cognitive functions take place.

How Can We Support You?

Our experienced team of therapists will explore your sleep pattern, and understand how your depression may be linked to your sleep quality and duration. They will guide you through interventions that can help you improve your sleep.