Medical News Today: What is the relationship between depression and sleep?

Poor sleep can affect a person’s ability to think clearly and cause an individual to have greater difficulty controlling their emotions. All these things can contribute to depression.

Sleep apnea and depression

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a medical condition that causes a person to have problems breathing while they are asleep. OSA and depression appear to have a link.

According to researchers, 18% of those experiencing major depressive disorder also experience OSA, and 17.6% of those experiencing OSA also have depression.

OSA may also cause someone to feel extremely tired during the day because they have not slept well at night. EDS and waking up feeling unrested may all be signs that a person could be experiencing OSA.

An article in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews reports that people with OSA are likely to report anxiety and depression as well.

Insomnia and depression

Insomnia is a sleep disorder where a person has difficulty going to sleep or staying asleep. An estimated 20–35% of the population experiences insomnia symptoms at some point in their life.

According to the NSF, people with insomnia are also 10 times more likely to develop depression compared to people who report sleeping well.

The NSF also suggest that those who have problems going to sleep, which doctors call sleep onset insomnia, and maintaining sleep, or sleep maintenance insomnia, are the ones most likely to experience depression.

A meta-analysis of 34 studies that included 172,077 participants found a positive relationship between insomnia and depression. The researchers concluded that insomnia could lead to depression and suggested that preventing insomnia had the potential to reduce depression.

A 2019 review suggests that there is a two-way relationship between sleep disorders, such as insomnia and depression. They believe that sleep problems can predict the onset of depression.

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