Causes And Risk Factors
While some illnesses have a specific medical cause, making treatment straightforward, depression is far more complicated. Certain medications, such as barbiturates, corticosteroids, benzodiazepines, opioid painkillers, and specific blood pressure medicine can trigger symptoms in some peopleas can hypothyroidism . But most commonly, depression is caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors that can vary wildly from one person to another.
Despite what you may have seen in TV ads, read in newspaper articles, or maybe even heard from a doctor, depression is not just the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, having too much or too little of any brain chemical that can be simply cured with medication. Biological factors can certainly play a role in depression, including inflammation, hormonal changes, immune system suppression, abnormal activity in certain parts of the brain, nutritional deficiencies, and shrinking brain cells. But psychological and social factorssuch as past trauma, substance abuse, loneliness, low self-esteem, and lifestyle choicescan also play an enormous part.
Oversleeping Disrupts Your Usual Sleep
Not getting the right amount of sleep can throw off your circadian rhythm, or your natural sleep-wake cycle. This internal biological clock helps regulate daytime energy and alertness and nighttime sleepiness by sending signals to your body when its time to go to sleep or wake up.
Sleeping too little or too much can confuse the cells that send these signals, leaving your body uncertain how to respond. Should you wake up and feel energized? Or is more sleep the answer?
Consequently, you might wake up exhausted and lethargic, or feel ready for bed just a few hours after getting up. Over time, an inconsistent sleep-wake schedule can make it difficult to get the sleep you need even when you aim for just the right amount.
Medical Problems Linked To Oversleeping
Diabetes. Studies have shown that sleeping too long or not enough each night can increase the risk for diabetes.
Obesity. Sleeping too much or too little could make you weigh too much, as well. One recent study showed that people who slept for nine or 10 hours every night were 21% more likely to become obese over a six-year period than were people who slept between seven and eight hours. This association between sleep and obesity remained the same even when food intake and exercise were taken into account.
Headaches. For some people prone to headaches, sleeping longer than usual on a weekend or vacation can cause head pain. Researchers believe this is due to the effect oversleeping has on certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin. People who sleep too much during the day and disrupt their nighttime sleep may also find themselves suffering from headaches in the morning.
Back pain. There was a time when doctors told people suffering from back pain to head straight to bed. But those days are long gone. You may not even need to curtail your regular exercise program when you are experiencing back pain. Check with your doctor. Doctors now realize the health benefits of maintaining a certain level of activity. And they recommend against sleeping more than usual, when possible.
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Changes In Appetite And Weight
We all tend to overeat or feel loss of appetite from time to time. However, if it’s coupled with other symptoms, such as feeling depressed or losing interest and pleasure in usual or favorite activities for two weeks or more, it could be a sign of a depressive episode, according to Simon Rego, PsyD, director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y. A weight gain of at least 5 percent of a person’s total body weight in a short period of time that causes significant distress may be considered part of depression, Dr. Rego says.
Setting The Stage For Healthier Sleep
The field of sleep science is still looking into the cause and effect relationship between oversleeping and health, but some habits and steps that promote better quality sleep and healthy sleep duration are known.
While a small percentage of people naturally sleep longer, for many long sleepers , there are certain conditions, behaviors and environmental factors that can increase sleep need or affect sleep quality .
To get an idea of how to avoid oversleeping and get healthier Zzzs, we reached out to a few sleep experts for their words of wisdom. Heres what they had to say:
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Whats The Difference Between Normal Grief After A Loss And Mdd
When you experience a loss of someone close to you, its normal to grieve and feel down and empty for a period of several weeks or more, but it should get better, says Dr. Murrough. If youre starting to feel worse instead of better as time goes on, thats a red flag. Perhaps, more critically, a typical grief reaction isnt: My life is not worth living anymore. Consider seeking treatment if you or someone experiences this.
You Are Unwell/have A Health Condition That Is Unrelated To Depression
In the case of women, for instance, feelings of lethargy during their period or when pregnant can make them feel extreme fatigue and/or tiredness. Other health conditions unrelated to depression, like headaches, fevers, and the likes would make you feel extremely tired and unwell. Again, it will be important to see a doctor if you feel very tired and cannot pinpoint any health condition you are aware of that could be responsible for it.
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How I Quit Sleeping Through Depression
My depression was treated with both medication and CBT . Medication can be put within arms reach on a bedside table, under the pillow. And, some therapists offer CBT over the phone. No need to get out of bed at all. But for me, given my penchant for sleeping, getting out of bed was as essential first step along the road to recovery.
At the beginning, it was absolutely the hardest thing I had to do. I would wake up, dress, drive to the therapist, sob through therapy, drive home, undress, go to bed and fall back asleep. My therapist suggested that I should try to extend the amount of time between when I got home from an appointment and when I went back to bed. Five minutes the first day, ten minutes the next, and so on. Slower if need be. While longer awake times meant longer bouts of pain, it also forced me to deal with that pain using other CBT techniques.
I love sleeping. It is my single most favorite thing. Which is why it is also the most dangerous symptom of my depression. Too much sleep, repeated oversleeping, also has the potential to bring me down . . . way down. I must be very, very diligent, aware of my symptoms and committed to my recovery.
Optimise Your Wake Up Routine
You should only wake up when youve had enough hours sleep. So set your alarm clock to go off once youve had 7 to 9 hours sleep. Not before and not after. If you need to wake up before this time, consider making a habit of going to bed earlier.
As soon as you wake up, open your curtains to let in as much natural light as possible. This lets your body natural rhythm know that its morning and stops melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. I talk about this much more in the article how to wake up in the morning feeling more alert.
A great way of optimising your wake up routine is to actually practise it, just like you would rehearse for a stage play. You can do this by setting your alarm clock to go off in a few minutes time, going to bed and getting up as soon as it goes off. Do this 10 times and I guarantee youll find it much easier to wake up and get out of bed as soon as your alarm goes off. It works by getting your brain to associate the sound of the alarm with waking up, to the point where waking up becomes a completely automatic response to the sound of your alarm. Its spooky how well this works. The next article in this series How to Get Up As Soon As Your Alarm Goes Off explains this technique in more detail.
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How Common Is Depression
Major depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the country. An estimated 17.3 million adults in the US reported having at least one major depressive episode over the course of a year, a 2017 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows.
Thats 7.1% of all adults ages 18 and older. Women have a higher prevalence of experiencing a major depressive episode than men .
Depression is especially crushing for the workforce: Its the number one leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. The total economic burden of MDD is estimated to be $210.5 billion per year in the United States alonea figure that reflects costs associated with missed days, reduced productivity, treatment for depression, and suicide.
Healthwhat To Say To Someone Who Is Depressed
Young people in their 20s and 30s who are experiencing increased sleepiness during the day and who are taking these so-called depression naps may actually be sleep-deprived rather than clinically depressed, Zak explained. They may be working long days or spending too much time on their screens at night, leading to poorer sleep quality and more stress, she said.
Yes You Can Sleep Too Muchheres Why Oversleeping Is A Problem
In a world where so many of us are struggling to get enough sleep, the issue of sleeping too much might seem like a luxury problem.
Its actually not. Like insufficient sleep, oversleeping is a sign of disordered sleep. It may be connected to a mental health issue such as depression. Its often a signal that a person is experiencing poor sleep quality, and it can be a sign of a clinical sleep disorder, including obstructive sleep apnea or narcolepsy.
Sleeping too much is linked with many of the same health risks as sleeping too little, including heart disease, metabolic problems such as diabetes and obesity, and cognitive issues including difficulty with memory. Similar to people who sleep too little, people who sleep too much have higher overall mortality risks.
We talk a lot about insufficient sleep, and the risks that a lack of sleep poses for physical health, mood, relationships, and performance. But oversleeping isnt something to ignore.
Hypersomnia is the clinical term for excessive sleeping, and excessive sleepiness during the day. Like its counterpart insomnia, hypersomnia has several core symptoms:
- Sleeping for extended hours at night
- Difficulty waking up in the morning
- Trouble rising from bed and starting the day
- Grogginess on and off or consistently throughout the day
- Trouble concentrating
How much sleep is too much?
Your individual genetics. Your genes influence both your circadian rhythms and your internal sleep drive, the two primary biological sleep systems
What Is Clinical Depression
Clinical depression, often referred to as depression or major depressive disorder, is a common mood disorder that causes changes in your feelings and thoughts. We all feel down from time to time, but depression causes more intense and long-lasting mood changes and physical symptoms that make it hard to sleep, work, and function in daily life.
While everyone experiences depression differently, common symptoms may include:
- Frequent feelings of sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, or emptiness
- Trouble concentrating or making decisions
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep or oversleeping
- Changes in appetite or eating habits
- In some cases, suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts
Factors like your family history, major stressors or traumatic experiences, other medical conditions, or certain medications could increase your risk of developing depression.
If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
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You Have A Sleep Disorder
Oversleeping and ever-present exhaustion are key signs of the sleep condition hypersomnia.
With hypersomnia, you might wake up feeling disoriented and somehow still drained of energy. Instead of feeling refreshed, you might be unable to find the motivation to get out of bed and go about your day.
Other symptoms include:
- trouble with concentration and memory
- slowed-down thoughts or speech
When To See A Doctor
Occasional oversleeping is not generally a cause for concern. A person who oversleeps may have to deal with a day of grogginess or low energy, but the effects typically do not go beyond that.
However, anyone with a history of oversleeping or who notices other concerning symptoms should contact their doctor for a thorough diagnosis.
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Oversleeping: How Much Sleep Is Too Much
The amount of sleep you need varies significantly over the course of your lifetime. It depends on your age and activity level as well as your general health and lifestyle habits. For instance, during periods of stress or illness, you may feel an increased need for sleep. But although sleep needs differ over time and from person to person, experts typically recommend that adults should sleep between seven and nine hours each night.
What Are Depression Naps
To many people, it wont come as a surprise that sleep and mental health are closely intertwined. Sleeping for extensive amounts of time is commonly associated with diagnoses of depression, which is usually accompanied by several other symptoms and identifying factors.
In fact, several studies have shown that between 65% to 90% of adult patients with major depression have experienced sleep dysfunction in some form. One example is by napping for long periods on a daily basis, a practice also referred to as a depression nap.
According to Alex Dimitriu, MD, a psychiatrist and sleep medicine specialist and founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine in Menlo Park, California, depression naps refer to taking a nap when youre feeling low, in an effort to boost your mood. But it might not necessarily indicate a serious problem.
It is important to realize there is a very big difference between feeling tired, sleepy, sad, and depressed, Dr. Dimitriu says. A lot of times it can be hard to know your own feelings, and too often in my work, people with fatigue end up thinking they are depressed.
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How Is Depression Diagnosed
Depression can only be diagnosed by a medical professional, so people experiencing symptoms of depression should talk with their doctor, counselor, or psychiatrist. They may ask about the severity of the symptoms and how long theyve persisted. They may also suggest tests that can help them to better understand your situation and monitor changes or improvements over time.
A provider may also refer patients to a specialist in sleep disorders to help determine if there is an underlying sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome, that may be causing depression or contributing to symptoms.
Characteristics Traits And Symptoms
Just like feelings of depression can lead people to want to sleep all the time, being in a general state of sleep deprivation, whether it comes from caring for young kids, dealing with long work hours and work-related stress, or other personal reasons can also contribute to feelings of depression.
When it comes to distinguishing fatigue from sleepiness from depression, it helps to understand each one in more detail, and also to realize that getting an adequate seven to eight hours of sleep per night would likely benefit all three issues, Dr. Dimitriu says.
Sleepiness is usually the easiest to identify. You can do so by asking yourself if you would be able to fall asleep right now.
If sleep deprivation is the true issue, taking steps to clean up your sleep hygiene and prioritizing sleep as crucial for your health and well being can truly make a difference.
Fatigue, meanwhile, is different from sleepiness, with low energy, reduced motivation and drive, but not necessarily a desire to sleep, he says. With fatigue, your body may physically feel tired, which can also be a sign of another underlying health issue, which highlights the importance of keeping up with regular doctors visits and keeping your provider updated on any and all concerns.
If you suspect you may be experiencing symptoms of depression, its key to seek professional help to appropriately navigate the path forward.
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Sleep Deprivation And Depression Links
The relationship between sleep and mental health is well known. While its long been understood that mental health conditions like depression often trigger issues like insomnia or oversleeping, recent research suggests the relationship between sleep deprivation and depression is bidirectional.
This means a lack of sleep isnt only a consequence of depression. Sleep deprivation or disrupted sleep in itself may also cause or worsen symptoms of depression.
Case in point: One 2011 meta-analysis of 21 studies showed that people with insomnia have a two times higher risk of developing depression in the future compared to those who dont have trouble sleeping.
Since insomnia has been identified as a risk factor for depression, researchers believe diagnosing and treating sleep issues early on could possibly help lower the risk of developing depression or reduce symptoms of depression.
However, more studies are needed to further explore the potential impact of insomnia treatment on the risk of depression and symptom reduction.
Elevation Behavioral Health Residential Depression Treatment
Elevation Behavioral Health is a Los Angeles-based residential program that offers intensive mental health treatment for depression. When outpatient interventions have been ineffective in improving quality of life, you may benefit from a more targeted treatment protocol. With deluxe accommodations and a highly attentive clinical staff, Elevation Behavioral Health strives to make the clients stay a comfortable and healing experience. Elevation Behavioral Health offers a full daily schedule of therapies and adjunctive activities to help individuals struggling with depression reclaim their joy and return to healthy functioning. For more information about our program please contact us today at 561-0868.
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