In this fast-paced lifestyle, there has been a rise in mental health issues among people across the globe, now worsened by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of these, depression is the most common mental health problem that millions of people grapple with worldwide.
What is Depression?
Depression is a psychological disorder characterised by bouts of sadness and mood fluctuations, making it difficult for an individual to perform their daily duties and carry out responsibilities. While major depressive disorder is the most common kind of depression, there are other types as well:
- Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)
In this type of depression, one does not experience the intense symptoms of major depression. However, you do feel low and gloomy for the most part for two years or more. Although sufferers can do their daily activities, they are unhappy most of the time. Symptoms include lethargy, changes to appetite and sleep patterns, low self-esteem, or feeling dejected. Psychotherapy and medication are effective forms of treatment for this condition.
- Bipolar disorder
People with bipolar disorder tend to experience acute mood swings. From extreme elation to depression, their moods tend to swing like a pendulum. Although they do experience certain emotional ‘highs’, such moods are fleeting and can potentially lead to self-destruction in the form of squandering and risk-taking behaviour. However, you can see a therapist and take medicines prescribed by your doctor to help you manage your bipolar disorder.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Also known as Winter SAD, people tend to experience this type of depression during the fall and winter seasons when there is an acute shortage of sunlight. It occurs due to changing circadian rhythms in response to reduced exposure to the sun, which also leads to altered sleep patterns. Light therapy is a popular treatment that can also be supplemented by certain prescription drugs to help you overcome this illness.
- Perinatal depression
This type of depression only affects expectant mothers. It occurs during pregnancy or during the first year of having the baby when it becomes postpartum depression (PPD). Psychological counseling and medication can help women deal with this type of depression.
- Postpartum depression (PPD)
PPD occurs after you have delivered your baby. It is usually characterised by extreme mood swings, sadness, irritability, major changes in appetite, excessive crying, trouble bonding with your baby, self-harming thoughts or those directed towards hurting your baby, and sleep problems (insomnia or oversleeping). Treatment includes psychotherapy and antidepressants.
In depression, the usually transient feelings of sadness, disappointment, and hopelessness linger on and last for a much longer time. Some of the common symptoms of depression include:
- Continued negative mood characterised by sadness, irritability, or gloom
- Feeling miserable, downcast, or guilty
- Lack of interest in things or activities that usually bring you pleasure
- Decreased levels of concentration
- Increased (overeating) or decreased appetite
- Morbid or suicidal thoughts
Although mood swings, anxiety, and lethargy are some common signs of depression, sleep problems are major symptoms as well. Research indicates that sleep problems can also contribute to mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. It can also cause diabetes, obesity, and cardiac problems such as heart failure, irregular heartbeat, and even heart attack. These make it all the more important to ensure that you are sleeping right and sleeping well. While getting an adequate amount of sleep every night is essential, it is also important to make sure that you are sleeping comfortably. For this reason, you must choose the best mattress and other sleep accessories of exceptional quality that suit your sleep behaviour to ensure a restful night.
How Does Depression Affect Sleep?
Nearly every individual with depression experiences trouble sleeping. Depression and sleep disorders usually occur due to an imbalance of neurotransmitter(s) and hormones in the brain. Serotonin is a key hormone responsible for making you experience positive moods. When there is a drop in the serotonin levels of the body, it may lead you to feel more drowsy and tired. Stress also makes it difficult for you to fall asleep. Anxiety causes your body to be on alert, constantly which can lead to insomnia and other sleep problems. It is also important to note that sleep and depression go hand-in-hand in the sense that the presence of one leads to the other and vice versa. Although recent lifestyle changes, brought on by the advancement of the digital age (resulting in increased screen times and binge-watching behaviour), have led to general sleep deprivation among the public, people with depression and other mental health problems are likely to find it more difficult to sleep. This persistent lack of sleep in patients with depression often gives rise to insomnia and other sleep-related problems. Even among patients with depression, sleep problems look different:
- Some people experience difficulty in falling asleep.
- Some find it hard to stay asleep.
- Some patients with depression end up oversleeping.
Tips To Sleep Better With Depression
To sleep better with depression, it is important to establish a healthy relationship with your bed. There are many ways in which you can develop healthy sleeping habits that will help you manage depression and other related problems:
- Seeking professional help
Talking to your doctor and seeing a professional therapist is the first step towards healing. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an effective therapeutic intervention used to treat depression and insomnia. Certain prescription medications can also be of help.
- Practice proper sleep hygiene
Since depression and sleep problems are co-occurring, practicing proper sleep hygiene can help you battle depression and insomnia. At the advice of your therapist, you can change your sleeping habits to help you get the right amount of sleep at night. You must also make it a point to get out of bed in the morning if you are not feeling particularly tired or sleepy. You can also ensure a comfortable night of sleep by choosing a good-quality mattress that suits your sleep behaviour, which can easily be purchased online in Dubai.
Although depression is a serious problem that is of growing concern in the world, it is still treatable and can be effectively managed. Seeking professional help and adopting effective measures that promote healthy sleeping habits by using the right kind of mattress are good ways to battle depression and begin your journey towards healing.