Depression Help:
Sleep Deprivation

We first have to learn what is causing sleep deprivation or insomnia, before we try self help sleep methods.

I’ve been there. I knew I couldn’t sleep so I surfed the internet, watched TV, and even worked all night until I decided I felt sleepy enough before I went to bed. I dreaded to go to bed before that because I just stared at the ceiling.

What is Sleep Deprivation (Insomnia)?

Insomnia has nothing to do with how much time you sleep. The amount of sleep differs a lot from person to person. Sleep deprivation is measured by the quality and the right amount of sleep to feel rested and refreshed when you wake up.

According to the University of Cambridge(1), insomnia manifests itself in different ways:

  • Difficulty falling asleep, most common among young people.
  • Sleeping lightly and restlessly, waking often, lying awake in the middle of the night. More common in people over 40. In younger people it may be associated with depression.
  • Waking early and being unable to get back to sleep. More common in older people and anyone worrying about something.

Causes Of Insomnia

The following is a list of possible causes of sleep deprivation. To find your specific cause, you have to honestly ask yourself if any of these describe your situation:

  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Chronic Anxiety
  • Worries
  • Recent traumatic experiences
  • Health problems interfering with sleep
  • Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome
  • Lack of quiet and comfortable sleeping environment

Many times we just do it to ourselves, for example…

Habits That Cause Insomnia

  • Consuming too much caffeine
  • Eating big meals just before bed time
  • Drinking alcohol, and/or smoking just before bed
  • Erratic sleeping schedule (Does not routinely go to bed at same time)

Knowing the causes of insomnia gives us a good clue on what we need to do, or not do, to get the much needed restful sleep.

It’s interesting to know that depression, anxiety and stress are some of the major causes of insomnia.

Guess which depression related medication causes insomnia as well? Antidepressants.  The very same medication that is supposed to help cope with depression, also contributes to one of the major causes of depression--sleeplessness.

If you are taking antidepressants, I do not suggest you rush off of them. For one, you should gradually come off antidepressants to avoid withdrawal symptoms. On the other hand, if antidepressants are working for you, and you feel you need them while you practice the depression self help treatments, you can still work on good sleeping habits.

So what’s the link between insomnia and depression?

Sleep deprivation is the main reason people "keep" depression. If you recall I’ve mentioned before that depression is characterized by fatigue. The depressed person will normally feel like they need restful sleep.

When you manage sleep healthily and proactively you will win half the battle against depression. You will start feeling more energy, which makes it easier to work on your resilience (bouncing back from negative feelings).

Follow my depression self help sleeping habits along with the rest of the depression help tools and you'll beat depression.

Depression symptoms almost always include being tired. Even though sleep is what depressed people mostly do. So why are they tired? Too much REM (rapid eye movement), and not enough restful slow brain-wave sleep.

Sleep Cycle and Depression Help

Sleeping normally has different stages, and every one of those stages has a function. However, people with depression tend to sleep in the REM stage too often, and not in the much needed slow wave, resting and rejuvenating stage.

In essence we are exhausting ourselves in our sleep.

REM sleep is physiologically different from the other phases of sleep. Vividly recalled dreams mostly occur during REM sleep.

REM is a mechanism of the mind to deal with daily events (often worries) in our lives. During our wake time, our minds may not have properly dealt with these events or worries.

During REM our brain tends to deal with the particular worry. Our mind uses stored experiences to put together a story that unfolds in our dreams. These dreams take care of the events, and the mind can put them aside as past history. Then our dreams can do a transition to the calm and restful Non-REM sleep. This is where we get our true rest.

These are explanations simplified to understand sleep and the effects on depression.

Depressed people tend to worry, ruminating over and over again on unresolved issues. The mind accumulates these unresolved experiences and thoughts. When there are too many unresolved issues during sleep the mind is over-stimulated, diminishing the ability of the REM to take care of these issues during dreams.

The resulting sleep pattern is too much REM and not enough time left for calm and restful sleep.

Visit the depression self help treatments on creating “new sleeping habits” in this website to learn specific steps to recover your restful sleep--another vital step to end depression.

(1) University of Cambridge. “Insomnia.” Retrieved 29 November 2010, from website,
(2) “Stages of sleep.” Retrieved 29 November 2010, from website,

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