Ask SleepBetter: Sleep-Related Depression?

Have you wondered about something related to sleep, but just can’t find the answer? Lots of people do, and that’s why we created Ask SleepBetter. You can ask your own question on the SleepBetter Facebook Page, or by using our Ask SleepBetter contact form. We will try to answer as many questions as possible, but we are not able to answer queries about physical issues or medicinal issues. Those should be addressed face-to-face with a physician.

Today’s question is from a Facebook friend who sees things in the morning:

“Can lack of sleep make your equilibrium feel off balance and cause you depression?  Also, I sleep in segments.. Like one hour here, two hours there…but not all the way through the night, why is that?
-Mina (via Email)

As we always recommend, please discuss this with your doctor as soon as possible. Depression is very much in the news today, and it’s NOT something you should try to treat yourself.

There are plenty of links between sleep deprivation and depression, and researchers have been studying them vigorously over the last handful of years.  A quick search for the term “depression” here at will show you that it’s a key concern.  It is believed that sleep deprivation may cause depression, or at the least cause an existing case of depression to worsen.

To answer your question about sleeping in segments: there are a number of things that could be causing that.  Here is a list of possible causes, along with suggested solutions for the problems:

  • Outside noise: A white noise machine by your bedside can help mask outside noise
  • Inside noise: See above
  • Uncomfortable bedding, like pillows and your mattress: Pillows should be replaced every 18 months, while many of the issues caused by older mattresses can be fixed with a high quality mattress topper.  For recommendations, click here.
  • A noisy or restless bed partner: Not all couples are compatible sleepers. Separate beds may be the answer.
  • Household pets: As much as you love fluffy or fido, if they’re keeping you from sleeping, it may be best to ban them from your bedroom.

Other possibilities include food and alcohol.  Eating too much before bed can make you restless while you sleep.  Alcohol, meanwhile, may seem to make you sleepy, but when it wears off it can leave you wide awake.

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