People living with anxiety and depression may have trouble getting the sleep they need. Insomnia, which is defined as the inability to get adequate restorative sleep, includes situations where the sufferer has trouble falling asleep and when the individual falls asleep for a time but is unable to stay asleep all night.
Anxiety and Depression Affect Sleep
Anxiety can take a number of forms. One way to think about this type of emotional disorder is that a person who is living with it has his or her “flight or flight” response activated in the absence of a real threat. The most common type of anxiety issue is Generalized Anxiety Disorder, where the individual worries excessively about everyday occurrences.
While everyone worries at times about events in their lives, the person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder is more sensitive to these types of environmental factors than most. They may experience repeated thoughts about impending disaster, or replay the day’s events in their mind when it’s time to wind down for the night.
Some people with anxiety issues may experience panic attacks. These physical manifestations of their anxiety can be mistaken for those of a heart attack, since the person having the panic attack may feel sweaty, have trouble breathing or experience a crushing sensation in the chest region. Even the thought of having a recurrence of these symptoms is enough to make it difficult for someone to get the rest they need.
A person who is living with Bipolar Disorder, which is also called Manic Depression, will also have sleep disturbances. This disorder is characterized by highs and lows in the person’s mood. When the individual is going through a high or “manic” cycle, they tend to have a lot of energy and may simply not feel tired at night. When the cycle is low and the person is going through a depressive phase, the person may either want to sleep more than usual or may not be able to get to sleep at night. In some cases, a depressed person may be able to fall asleep relatively easily, but wakes up a few hours later and is unable to get back to sleep.
In some cases, the culprit that keeps people from getting the sleep they need is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. A person who lives with this emotional disorder has persistent thoughts or impulses that intrude on his or her everyday life. These thoughts become so intense that they lead to difficulty sleeping.
Getting Treatment for Sleep Difficulties
A person who is having difficulty getting the rest he or she needs due to anxiety or depression issues should discuss the issue with their doctor. A plan to treat the entire issue, including the sleep disorder can be developed.
Unfortunately, lack of sleep can exacerbate anxiety and depression issues. A person who is well rested will find it easier to cope with everyday life and may feel less anxious. The depressed individual who can sleep at night may find that his or her overall mood improves with time.