Understanding the Relationship between Depression and Sleep


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 “Wait! Are you still sleeping?”

This was the 1000th time Bolu’s roommate would come back from work and meet her sleeping in bed.

It all began when she lost her job six months ago. Seven interviews and twelve rejection letters later, she gave up on herself. Then her boyfriend broke up with her for some flimsy reason. Now, she’s just a shadow of herself, sleeping all day and barely eating.

Could this be depression?

What is Depression?

There are many Bolus out there. But are they all depressed? Understanding the relationship between sleep and depression can help you spot red flags early, get help, and take action to aid quick recovery.

Depression is a common mental health condition that negatively affects how you act, feel, and think. It must be separated from the sadness which may result from a loss. This is important because it is common to hear people say ‘I am depressed’ when they are simply sad. Grieving is normal. The feeling will likely pass and wane in intensity, but with depression, it doesn’t.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, it is characterized by perpetual sadness, loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities, appetite change, fatigue, and also trouble sleeping (insomnia), or excessive sleeping (hypersomnia).

The Road that Leads to Depression

Depression is like a bowl of soup; it takes multiple stressors to get it cooked. From the tongue lashing at the office to the thought of the immense debt on your neck. From the intense pain of being raped to the emotional damage and embarrassment of not being able to afford school fees.  

The slippery slope that leads to depression is one you may not know you’re walking until you’re too far in to find your way out. Much like stress and burnout. It is thus necessary that when things happen, we make a habit of dealing with them as soon as possible.

How do Depression and Sleep Relate?

Sleep has a very close relationship with mental health. According to Dr Patrick H. Finan at John Hopkins Hospital, anyone can lead to the other.

Poor sleep can tamper with your emotions, leaving you more vulnerable to depression in the future. For example, people with insomnia may have a tenfold higher risk of developing depression than people who get a good night’s sleep.

Likewise, depression can make it difficult to sleep properly. As much as 75 per cent of people with depression have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.

You must pay attention to the length of your sleep and the quality while also paying attention to your emotions. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep and often feel tired during the day, you should consider seeing a doctor. 

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