A poor night's sleep is bad enough without finding out that insomnia can both cause and prolong clinical depression. Further, two new studies that show insomnia, is not just a symptom or side effect of depression, but may be a precursor of it. So some patients may go on to become mentally ill. The papers will be published in the Journal of Behavioral Sleep Medicine.
It has been thought for some time that there may have been a link between insomnia and depression but establishing the facts proved difficult. Experts thought depression may have somehow caused insomnia. However since depression treatments have improved the situation with depression, there has been no resulting improvement with insomnia.
Anyone who suffers poor sleep could be subject to signs of depression. This is more likely to be the case in the elderly who are statistically more prone to depression.
These risk factors put a person at higher risk for insomnia that might and should be addressed. Some insomnia risk factors include aging or the elderly, conflict in one's life, being overworked, illness in the family, ranking low in social status, or a psychiatric or psychological problem. Of course those who will be at a greater risk of developing insomnia would typically be a female over the age of 60, with a history of stress, anxiety, or depression, maybe a combination of all, and one who may have an underlying medical condition. It has been a myth that as people get older, they require less sleep. That myth has never been validated and remains untrue today.
Negative thinking is also associated with insomnia or when something is really weighing heavily on ones mind. This can have a negative impact and because the mind is preoccupied with these thoughts, it can trigger a bout of insomnia. Sometimes people have an onset of insomnia that is very temporary while in others, it could linger for months. Insomnia is the number one factor associated with depression and almost all people who have been diagnosed with this condition have insomnia.
But it may be that insomnia is more than just a symptom of depression. If sleep researcher Michael Perlis, Ph.D., is right, insomnia may be an early sign of depression. His studies show that insomnia appears to precede episodes of depression by about five weeks. Sleep disorder may actually bring on depression. Treating insomnia may ward off a first episode of depression or stop a worsening situation.