Statistics show that 80% of people with depression have a sleep disorder. As a rule, a person wakes up early, as if from a sudden push. It can be difficult to fall asleep, sleep is usually superficial, restless, anxious, often full of nightmares. Sometimes people do not feel that he or she is actually sleeping.
The phase of dreams in these people occurs much earlier than normal, which, in particular, can also indicate a biological predisposition to depression. A sleep with dreams usually occurs in the first half of the night. Frequent symptoms are a lack of rest after sleep, inability to sleep during the day or, conversely, pronounced daytime sleepiness.
As you know, the deepest, late stage of sleep is very important for normal functioning of the body and this stage may be completely absent with severe depression. The decrease or absence of the third and fourth phase of sleep – the Rem-phase of sleep – is considered the most accurate diagnostic criterion for depression. In addition, sleep cycles during depression are lagging behind daily biorhythms.
Insomnia is a common symptom and a true companion of depression.
The emergence of sleep disorders can also cause diseases of internal organs, endocrine diseases, alcohol abuse, smoking, as well as neurological diseases (a migraine, back pain). Insomnia hinders the restoration of vital energy, as a result of which a person overstrains, mental activity decreases, and the immune system decreases. A person becomes irritable and can blame him or her for not being able to catch up with the general rhythm of life. Therefore, if insomnia lasts for seven days, you need to seek help.
It is known that the relationship between sleep disorders and anxiety disorders is noted, on the one hand, when sleep disturbances can provoke the development of anxiety disorders, and on the other, when the onset of an anxiety disorder precedes the onset of sleep disturbances. Complaints about problems related to sleep are typical for patients with all diseases that are part of the anxiety disorder group. In the case of a large generalized disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep disturbances are one of the criteria necessary for the diagnosis. For the development of sleep disorders within the framework of anxiety disorders, there are objective reasons, namely: anxiety manifested by increased cortical activation, which entails the difficulty of falling asleep and maintaining sleep.
For the treatment of anxiety-depressive disorders, drugs of various pharmacological groups are used:
- tranquilizers (mainly preparations of benzodiazepine series of prolonged action or short-acting)
- selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
- selective stimulators of serotonin reuptake
- tricyclic antidepressants.
All these drugs, including powerful sleeping pills Ambien and others that are available in pharmacies around the world, to some extent affect the sleep of a person, simplifying falling asleep, reducing the number and duration of nocturnal awakenings, thereby acting on the recovery processes occurring during night sleep. When building the tactics of treating sleep disorders, combined with anxiety-depressive manifestations, it is important to remember that insomnia itself can increase anxiety, worsen the state of health, mood, usually in the morning after a bad dream.