If you are suffering from insomnia, you have a medical condition that affects more than 3 million Americans. This condition cannot be cured, but you can get medical treatment. The most common sign that you have insomnia is you have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep on a routine basis.
How Insomnia Affects Mood
When you're unable to get a good night’s sleep, it can lead to mood disorders. You can become easily irritated, stressed, or unable to control your emotions. This is because sleep and mood are intertwined. In order to boost your mood, you want to improve your sleep. However, if you're diagnosed with chronic insomnia, you can increase your risk of suffering from anxiety or depression.
Anxiety disorders, including panic disorders, are more common among people who have insomnia. In fact, insomnia is considered a predictor of all anxiety disorders, as well as many psychiatric disorders including depression, as noted by the Harvard Medical School. It's a vicious cycle, all associated with sleep loss.
Insomnia and Depression
According to the Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine, up to 20 percent of individuals who have insomnia are also diagnosed with major depression at some point in their lives. The effects of insomnia and depression are closely related to lack of sleep. If you're diagnosed with depression, you may likely also suffer from insomnia. It's a vicious cycle.
Depression leads to racing thoughts and deep sadness that can become more prominent at night when you're lying in your bed with nothing to distract you. As a result, you may find yourself struggling to fall asleep. This condition can also cause you to wake up with anxiety in the middle of the night, unable to fall back to sleep. As such, you're dealing with insomnia on top of your depression.
Treatments for Insomnia
As noted, insomnia cannot be cured. However, there are many treatments available for insomnia. For starters, if you have insomnia as a result of anxiety, depression, or other mood or psychiatric disorders, you want to start by treating these underlying conditions. Seek treatment by going to a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. Make sure to mention that your mood or psychiatric disorder is causing a lack of sleep so they can treat your insomnia as well.
According to Psych Central, you want to wait before taking sleeping aids, even if they're prescription strength. That's because these drugs often effect the respiratory system and can lead to physical dependence on the drugs for sleep. There are issues with natural sleep supplements, such as melatonin as well. Instead of turning to a pill bottle for insomnia treatment, try these cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) methods:
- Keep a sleep journal and use a sleep tracking monitor or app on your smartphone to observe your sleep patterns.
- Avoid spending too much time in bed. Instead, set a routine to help relax your body and mind 30 minutes before sleep, such as using lavender oil on your pillow or reading a difficult book.
- Have healthy sleep habits, such as having a cool room or exercising regularly to help reduce stress.
When you use CBT therapy in place of sleeping drugs, you can help coax your mind and body into healthy sleeping habits. This can help you deal with the medical condition of insomnia, even if you're also struggling with mood disorders including depression.