Depression and Insomnia

Sleep deprivation affects millions of people every night. When you don’t get enough sleep the results have a negative impact on the things that your body needs to do to function correctly. Which ultimately leads to depression and insomnia.

If you getting the right amount of the right kinds of sleep, there are all sorts of problems that you can experience on a daily basis:

  • Emotional problems
  • Noticeably low energy levels
  • Memory problems (can’t remember details)
  • Difficulties with mental acuity
  • Depression

If you want to discover if you are not getting the proper amount of sleep, keep a journal of the time you actually do sleep. Write down things such as when you went to bed, what time you woke up, did you look at the clock during the night, times during the day when you took a nap. This is also called a “sleep diary”. A good one can be found here. It is in PDF format and can be easily printed.

After keeping your journal, check to see if you have any signs of exhaustion, fatigue or a lack of physical energy. If you can’t seem to complete things that need to be done, your body aches, your mind is not as sharp or you can’t do the things you normally do you might have insomnia.

Without the proper amount of sleep your brain doesn’t have the chance to rest. Your thinking and speaking become cloudy and affects your memory. You sometimes can’t perform tasks because you are physically exhausted. Your physical movement becomes weakened and limited.

Depression and Insomnia Loop

When these symptoms occur, you can become depressed. When you become depressed and start taking medications, they can keep you awake because of the ingredients (codeine, etc.) in some of the prescriptions.

Very quickly you can become involved in a loop: you can’t get sleep because you are depressed but you are depressed because you can’t get any sleep. This is an extremely vicious cycle which is hard to turn around without the help of a physician.

When you have medical problems or illnesses, this can also cause you to become depressed which in turn can cause you to become sleep deprived.

Conversely, you can also get too much sleep from depression. In a depressed state of mind, you feel numb to the world, are lethargic and sleeping is easier than dealing with the problems you are facing.
Clinical depression is considered a mood disorder. You can experience feelings of sadness, helplessness, and you feel hopeless and worthless. Clinical depression is described as feeling blue or sad for long periods of time. These feelings become more intense and your depression can keep you from feeling normal and living a basically normal life.

If you feel you are depressed or are experiencing any of the signs of depression, go to your physician to seek help. There are remedies for depression and insomnia which seem to go hand-in-hand at times. There is no need to suffer with these two conditions when help is readily available.


Sleep Disorders Can Be Caused by Indoor Air Quality

Can the air quality of your room actually affect the quality of your sleep? The good news is, the answer is apparently ‘yes’. Sleeping disorder symptoms like sleep apnea, twitching, and snoring affect thousands of people every day. Until now, sleep disorder causes have been mainly focused on abnormalities or malfunctions in the body, hereditary causes, and weight problems. However, as people are finding varying degrees of relief from sleep disorders by cleaning up the indoor air in their sleeping areas, indoor air pollution is now being seen as potentially the main culprit. And that’s good news, because indoor air pollution is something that can be fixed fairly easily.

Very often, the occurrence of snoring or other sleep disorders are determined to be directly related to the amount of airborne particles and chemicals present in your home’s air. As recently as March of 2012, there was a study done by American Innovative Research Corporation with people that have COPD, testing to see if reducing / eliminating indoor air pollutants had an effect on sleep. The results showed conclusively that the test subjects who had an air cleaning system in the sleeping area got relatively good or better sleep and had less breathing issues the following day. Similar results have been found with regard to snoring. Cleaning up any air pollution in the home also reduces the frequency and severity of sleep disorders. With cleaner air, there is less irritation of the tissues in the airway, which reduces inflammation and allows the airway to remain more open (without these tissues touching while air goes past, which is what causes the snoring sound). Better sleep might be as close as a good air purifier.

One air pollutant known to get in the way of ‘good sleep’ is mold. Mold produces spores and mycotoxins, both of which cause all sorts of allergy-type reactions when they enter the nose, throat, bronchial and lung areas. There are serious health issues that can result from prolonged exposure to mold, but the more obvious immediate problem is inflammation of the tissues in the airway, which is one thing that tends to cause sleep interruptions. Does mold have a link to sleep apnea? As Dr. Steven Park states, “although mold in the home may not cause sleep apnea. If you have an underlying sleep-breathing problem such as obstructive sleep apnea, you’ll be extra sensitive to molds compared with someone without sleep apnea.”

Wondering how to test for mold in your home? Simple home air testing kits are available to answer that question. Quality indoor air testing kits, like the one in the previous link, can measure hundreds of VOCs and can offer suggestions on improving air quality. Yes, they can be a bit expensive but how much is better sleep worth?

What else can you do to alleviate sleep disorders and get good rest? Well, many find that an easy, natural sleep aid is a high quality air purifier that is 1) designed for removing mold spores / mycotoxins, and 2) quiet enough to be used in a sleeping area. One such air purifier can be hound here.

Don’t forget, however, mold in the house means a leak somewhere that is letting in moisture. Regardless of the size or location of the leak, it must be addressed to solve the problem. And, the quicker its fixed, the better you can sleep!


Primary Insomnia: How to Identify


Primary insomnia is defined as insomnia not being the result of medical, psychiatric or environmental elements.
To be correctly identified  as Primary insomnia a number of specific conditions must be present. These include:

  • At least a full month of being unable to get to sleep, or stay asleep throughout the night.
  • What sleep is obtained is not effective. That is, the sleep is not restorative.
  • Day time exhaustion must be present to the point where a person’s basic functioning is affected.

Primary insomnia is segmented into three classifications:

  • Psychophysiological Insomnia: Closely associated with existing levels of stress. Most often, the stress, tension and anxiety you are going through causes poor sleep patterns such as frequently waking up throughout the night, or experiencing difficulties in falling asleep. The good news is that Psychophysiological insomnia is not incurable. Most often sufferers are people who had good sleep patterns before they became stressed and once that stress is relieved, so is the insomnia. However, if the condition lasts long enough, the difficulty sleeping itself becomes a source of stress. This is known as behavioral, or learned, insomnia.

    Symptoms range from mild to severe. Interestingly, it is very common that those dealing with this can easily fall asleep anywhere except in their own bedrooms. Very often the physiological make up of sufferers indicate a strong tendency to hide their feelings.

  • Idiopathic Insomnia: This is a physical condition that is rare but does occur. It usually takes place because of a lesion on the area of the brain that is connected with awaking. More generally, a number of neurological abnormalities can affect the awake-sleeping cycle.

    Most often the problems begin to show in early childhood. Also, those with Idiopathic insomnia have problems paying attention and concentrating. The person may also be hyperactive. If the person suffering this type of primary insomnia is also stressed, these symptoms are often worse.

  • Sleep State Misperception: This is a situation where the individual is convinced they have insomnia but there is no real evidence for it. Symptoms usually show themselves as complaints of insomnia even though the person has normal sleep patterns. This class of primary insomnia is also known as sleep hypochondriasis. It can be severe enough to cause depression and anxiety during waking hours.

    Therapy is most often psychological counseling.

In the end, if you or a loved one is dealing with one type or another of primary insomnia, which one really doesn’t matter. What is important is that you seek help from professionals.

Begin with your family practitioner as you may be helped with something as simple as a minor lifestyle change. For more serious situations your physician may recommend you seek the services of a sleep professional.

Regardless of which type of primary insomnia you are dealing with, help is available.


Is Sleep Apnea Interrupting Your Rest?

Sleep Apnea is a disorder where you are unable to breathe for periods of time while you are sleeping. This particular disorder can be deadly if you don’t pay attention to the warning signs. You might have to enlist the help of someone to stay awake and watch you sleep (short of going to a sleep specialist) to let you know your breathing patterns.

With sleep apnea, you actually stop breathing. There are two types of sleep apnea and they are categorized as obstructive and central sleep apnea. Here is a brief description of each:

Obstructive sleep apnea

Prevents proper oxygen circulation and has an adverse effect on a person’s heart. Sometimes you will hear the terms “congenital or congestive heart failure” associated with this time of sleep apnea.

Central sleep apnea

Is defined as being when your breathing is regularly disrupted when you are sleeping because of the way your brain functions. With this apnea, it isn’t that you can’t breathe, it is your brain telling your muscles not to breathe at all. Also, this type of apnea is associated with illnesses associated with the lower brain stem.

The group of people most likely to contract obstructive sleep apnea are those who are morbidly obese. These people usually have to wear an oxygen mask to bed because they sometimes can’t breathe which is caused by the pressure of their weight on their lungs.

Congenital Down’s Syndrome is another condition in which those people also have a greater risk of contracting sleep apnea. The reason for this is their enlarged heads, adenoids, tonsils, tongue and adenoids. They also usually have a narrow Nasopharynx (the upper part of the throat behind the nose).

Some common symptoms of sleep apnea you should know are: headaches, depression, frequent urination, irritability, lowered libido and profuse sweating at night.

When you visit a doctor, if you think you might have sleep apnea, they will look at your medical history and the causes of your breathing problem. They will then do an evaluation and come up with a treatment plan. Most likely they will ask you to make changes to your lifestyle and stay away from alcohol.

Lifestyle changes include losing weight, giving up smoking, and elevating themselves while sleeping so that they are lying in a “propped up” position with pillows. This will allow for easier breathing while trying to sleep.

A morbidly obese person will improve their life immensely if they just lose 50 pounds. They might have to stick to a strict diet and have a support team but it must be done to save their life.

One surgical method is a gastric bypass. There is also a lap band. This will help obese people to maintain their weight loss and help to immensely improve their breathing problem and allow them to get a good night’s rest and sleep.

Without sleep, you run the risk of serious problems so don’t let sleep apnea interrupt your rest time.

We have another post with more information about sleeping disorder symptoms you may also want to read. Simply click on the link.


Treatment for Insomnia

Selecting a treatment for insomnia depends on which type of the condition needs treatment. Secondary insomnia can benefit from your physician prescribing medications. But if your insomnia is due to sleep apnea, then having that diagnosis and pursuing the health care treatment options can bring you back to restful nights.

Treatment for insomnia that is brought on by diabetic issues, having glucose levels as close to normal as is possible could do a lot to help you sleep throughout the night once again. But for the kind of insomnia that is the primary sort, therapy aside from medicine needs to be undertaken.

After you have been checked out by a medical professional and told that your particular lack of sleep isn’t medically related, there are changes you may make in your life to prevent the cycle from continuing.

You will begin this treatment for insomnia with some basic life style adjustments. If you are going to be merely because it’s time, your first adjustment may be to only go to bed when you are ready to fall asleep. Trying to get your internal clock to conform to a rigid schedule will likely result in your becoming anxious and stressed when you don’t get to sleep right away. And that worry can easily feed on itself until you have gone without rest for the entire night.

If you do decide to stay up later and not go to bed until you are really tired you might find that this alone will make it easier to sleep through the night. But beware! Let yourself relax and don’t get involved in activities that are going to stimulate you. No edge of the seat action flicks late in the evening! And don’t do anxiety or stress inducing tasks. Pay the bills some other time and let the office work go until the morning. Get your mind and spirit right for sleep by listening to quiet music, or meditating. You might be surprised at how many people find these actions help a lot.

Obviously, this treatment for insomnia is aimed at relaxing and letting the worries of the day go away for a while. When you are this concerned about not being able to sleep it can, in fact, result in your not being able to sleep. What you think in your head you can bring to pass in your body merely because you are stressed about it.

A behavioral therapy treatment for insomnia will help you to break that cycle to get back to a good night’s sleep. If you have undergone an experience that left you traumatized, then seeking out therapy for treatment may help regain balance to your daily routine, make it easier to handle the stress the trauma caused, and deliver sleepiness back to your bed time.