What is Depression ?

Insomnia is very common among depressed patients. Evidence suggests that people with insomnia have a ten-fold risk of developing depression compared with those who sleep well. Depressed individuals may suffer from a range of insomnia symptoms, including difficulty falling asleep (sleep onset insomnia), difficulty staying asleep (sleep maintenance insomnia), refreshing sleep, and daytime sleepiness. However, research suggests that the risk of developing depression is highest among people with both sleep onset and sleep maintenance insomnia.


There is a very strong association between sleep disturbance and major depression. Sleep disturbance is one of the key symptoms of the disease, may be the reason that depressed patients first seek help, and is one of the few proven risk factors for suicide. If sleep problems remain after other symptoms are ameliorated, there is a significantly increased risk of relapse and recurrence. Another aspect of the association is the remarkable, if paradoxical, temporary improvement in mood seen after total sleep deprivation in a high proportion of depressed patients.

Symptoms of depression vary from person to person. The following is a list of the most common symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of depression

  • Some depression patients have only one of these, while others may have some, most or all:
  • Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and sadness..
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Loss of interest in things those were once pleasurable.
  • Sleep problems such as insomnia and daytime sleepiness are often among the most debilitating features of depression.

Treatment for depression typically involves a combination of psychotherapy (including cognitive-behavioral therapy) and/or pharmacological (drug) treatment. Each of these therapies may be used to treat both depression and insomnia and treatment for sleep problems is often an integral part of depression therapy.

Treatment for depression may be complicated by sleep disorders. For example, patients with both OSA and depression should avoid sedating antidepressant medications due to their potential to suppress breathing and worsen OSA. Before beginning therapy for depression, talk to your physician about any sleep symptoms you are experiencing. In some cases, effectively treating the sleep problem may be enough to alleviate the symptoms of depression.