Insomnia and Depression: What’s the link?

Here is a piece of detailed information about insomnia disorder and depression. Find out the relationship between insomnia disorder and depression.

The recommended amount of hours one should get sleep varies depending on their age. An adult should get at least seven hours of sleep. Only a small percentage of adults manage to get enough sleep.

Sleep deprivation affects your physical and mental performance. Its short-term effects include fatigue, mood changes, a lapse of concentration, and irritability.

The long-term effects of sleeplessness are fatal. They include high blood pressure, obesity, depression, and diabetes.

Sleep deprivation with insomnia

Insomnia and depression are separate problems. However, they are closely related to each other. In this article, we are going to investigate the relationship between depression and insomnia disorder.


Insomnia is a sleep disorder that makes it hard for you to fall or stay asleep. It may also involve waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep.


You may be diagnosed with insomnia disorder if you experience sleep difficulties for at least three days a day. The other condition is that it leads to distress in your personal life. Short-term insomnia disorder may happen for a few days. Chronic insomnia disorder may occur for as long as three to six months.

The two categories of insomnia include:

Sleep-Onset Insomnia

Sleep-Onset Insomnia

Sleep-onset insomnia involves difficulty in catching sleep.

Sleep Maintenance Insomnia

Sleep Maintenance Insomnia

Sleep maintenance insomnia involves difficulty in staying asleep.

Note that some people experience both sleep-onset and sleep maintenance insomnia.

Causes of Insomnia

The causes of insomnia are listed below.

Mental Health Disorder

Anxiety, stress, and depression cause insomnia. Insomnia, on the other hand, can worsen the severity of these mental disorders.

Mental Health Disorder

Anxiety causes the brain to release adrenaline into the body. This kind of stimulation may make it harder for you to fall asleep. One may feel fatigued during an anxiety attack but still, find it hard to fall asleep.

Insomnia disorder can be caused by other forms of mental disorders.



Medication for diseases such as asthma or depression can interfere with your sleep. Some may cause daytime sleepiness and make t harder for you to sleep at night. Some cough medication lowers the quality of sleep by suppressing the random eye movement sleep.

Sleep-related disorders

Sleep disorders like sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome can cause insomnia. Sleep apnea is a condition where normal breathing is interrupted. It occurs when the airway collapses during sleep.

Sleep Apnea phobia

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway muscles collapse obstructing the airway. Central apnea occurs when the brain does not send signals to the muscle controlling breathing.




The underlying issue behind your insomnia problem could be another disease. Some of the illnesses that could cause sleeplessness to include cancer, chronic pain, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease.

Circadian rhythm disturbance

Circadian rhythm disturbance

Functions in the body are synchronized by an internal clock known as the circadian rhythm. It also controls the wake and sleep cycle. Darkness causes the body to produce melatonin that induces sleep. A disturbance in the circadian rhythm delays the release of melatonin.

Some triggers may cause this rhythm to fall out of sync. These disturbances can result from jetlag, change in working shifts, and irregular sleep patterns.

Treatment of insomnia

  • Proper sleep hygiene
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Regular exercise
  • Consistent sleep pattern
  • Avoiding naps in the evening
  • Avoid large meals before bedtime.


The world health organization statistics show that about 264 million people suffer from depression globally.


Depression is a mood disorder that leads to sadness or anger that affects your everyday life. It is different from the usual mood changes and stress due to life challenges. It's an ongoing problem. You cannot just snap out of it. Its symptoms may start to show after two weeks. It can affect you for weeks, months, or years.

Depression affects 6.7% of all adults. It affects one adult in every fifteen. It can affect a person of any age. It is common among teenagers and 20-year old. Women are more likely to suffer from depression than men. Women are more likely to inherit genes that cause depression. Depression results from a chemical imbalance. However, it is not as simple as it sounds. It has many external causes.

Many chemicals are involved in shaping your mood, perception, and emotions. It makes the problem of depression complex. Two people with similar symptoms of depression may require different methods of treatment.

The brain controls several body functions. Brain cells produce neurotransmitters that maintain balance in our moods. When one is depressed, the brain isn't able to perform this function properly. It may cause neurotransmitters to be either oversensitive or insensitive. These faults significantly affect your mood.

Symptoms of Depression

Symptoms of Depression

  • Frequent change in mood.
  • Lack of interest or pleasure in life.
  • Weight loss.
  • Insomnia disorder.
  • Fatigue and loss of energy.
  • A lapse in concentration.
  • Recurrent suicidal thoughts.
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness.

Risk Factors


Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.


Depression can be passed down from a parent to a child.


Low esteem issues and pessimism can lead to depression.


Being exposed to rejection, violence, or abuse can lead to depression.

Treatment of Depression

A thorough diagnosis should be made to determine the cause of depression before treatment begins.

Some of the ways to treat depression include:


Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. The imbalance prevents the brain from maintaining your mood at its optimal level.

Antidepressants correct the brain's chemical imbalance. They are not stimulants or sedatives and don't affect healthy people. They are also not addictive.

Psychiatrists recommend long-term use of antidepressants. The patient should take their medication up to six months after symptoms have improved.



It is also called talk therapy. It treats mild forms of depression. For severe cases, it is used along with medication. It aims at changing a person's thoughts to change their behavior.

Electroconvulsive Therapy

It involves electrical stimulation of the brain. It is applied in severe cases of depression. It is mostly used when other types of treatment do not work.

Electroconvulsive Therapy[

It is administered three times a week for up to six to twelve times.


These are activities you can do to reduce the chances of being depressed. It involves exercising, getting enough sleep, a healthy diet, avoiding alcohol, and talking to friends and family about what you are going through.

Relationship Between Insomnia and Depression

Depression and insomnia are two separate but overlapping disorders. Insomnia was initially thought of as a symptom of depression. However, depression can also lead to insomnia.

Relationship between Insomnia and Depression

One of the long-term effects of sleep deprivation can lead to depression. Insomnia is not just a cause of depression. Insomnia also makes depression worse.

Insomnia occurs in approximately 75% of adults with depression. Solving insomnia disorder can help to ease the level of depression. Insomnia affects the functions of the neurotransmitter called serotonin. It contributes to depression.

  • How Insomnia may cause depression

Insomnia affects the quality of life. It affects the normal performance of the body. It also affects your moods. Lack of sleep for a long time eventually leads to anxiety and depression. Sleeplessness due to insomnia could lead to a change of perception. It may lead to a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. Insomnia messes up the circadian rhythm. It may lead to a change in mood and performance.

There is an overlap between insomnia and depression. Both conditions are caused by psychosocial stressors. However, both conditions can also occur independently. It is possible to find depressed patients without insomnia. The vice versa is also true.

In a case where a patient has both conditions, separately treating both conditions could hasten treatment. Treatment methods can include proper sleep hygiene, avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol, regular exercise, antidepressant, and therapy.


Insomnia is a sleep disorder that leads to sleep deprivation. One of the effects of sleeplessness is depression. Insomnia can also make depression more severe. Depression is a mood disorder. It occurs due to chemical imbalance in the brain. Depression can lead to insomnia. Insomnia and depression are interlinked. It is rare to find one condition without the other as a symptom.

However, it is possible to get depressed patients without insomnia. It is also possible to find insomnia patients without depression too. The most effective way to treat both conditions is to tackle them separately. Insomnia disorder can be treated by changing the way a person thinks. Talk therapy may work more effectively than medication.

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