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Depression and Insomnia May be Related and Therapy Can Help with Both

Sometimes, when a person experiences depression, they may notice changes in their sleep patterns. For instance, some people might notice that their depression is causing insomnia. They may have a hard time getting to sleep or a person might wake up consistently throughout the night. On the other hand, the other person might notice that they're sleeping too much. In this way, depression can contribute to both insomnia and hypersonnia.

In fact, because of the relationship between sleep and depression, researchers have looked into what may be creating the association between the two. When experts explored this relationship, they found that mental health treatment for insomnia can also help with treating depression. In one particular study, researchers had participants participate in psychotherapy for eight weeks.  Each participant was given instructions on how to manage their insomnia. These instructions included establishing a specific time for waking up and going to bed, getting out of bed if not able to sleep, avoiding naps during the day, and avoiding stimulating activities during the last two hours before bed. The results of the study found that nearly 90% of those who followed the instructions and who fully participated in the study saw their depression lift.

The implications of this study shows that therapy which includes providing people with tips on how to manage their insomnia can help with their overall psychological health. Experts recognize that depression can not only contribute to insomnia but insomnia can also contribute to depression For instance, another study done at the University of Texas Health Science Center examined the sleep habits of over 4,000 people for one year. What they found is a strong reciprocal relationship between sleep and the psychological health of adults. The study indicated that those adults that were already depressed were four times as likely to lose more sleep. These findings were published in the journal Sleep in February of 2014.

Perhaps because of the fact that insomnia can be caused by but also contribute to depression, help for one can also be help for another. Specifically therapy that is educational in nature can be a support for both problems. In fact, experts are exploring the idea of providing people with insomnia opportunities for psychotherapy versus giving them medication to help them sleep. Of course, medication can help but medication alone may not be as effective. It is the support of a mental health provider as well as receiving specific instructions on how to maintain healthy sleep habits that are particularly effective.

If you find that you are struggling with insomnia, you might try the following tips:

·         Go to bed at the same time every night.

·         Set your alarm to wake up at the same time every morning.

·         Avoid anything stimulating for the few hours before bed, including watching TV.

·         Do not lie in bed if you can't sleep.

·         Try to create an association between your bedroom and sleeping. To do this, do not do any other activities in your bedroom other than sleeping.

·         Exercise regularly.

·         Eat healthy meals.

This is a list of tips to help get a better night's sleep. However, as research indicates, therapy may be the best form of help for insomnia as well as for depression.

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