Sleep and Emotional Health

Having trouble sleeping?

Many people have questions similar to the following: Am I in a bad mood because I have trouble falling asleep? Could my anxiety disorder be causing me to wake up in the middle of the night? How can I make sure both my sleep apnea and depression are being treated?


Studies show that there is a strong relationship between sleep and mental health. When you have difficulty sleeping or poor quality sleep, your mental health often suffers. Also, a mental health condition may negatively affect your sleep. Both sleep disorders and mental health conditions affect your overall health and well-being.


Is a mental health problem causing your problems sleeping?

Many common mental health conditions can lead to or worsen problems sleeping. Studies show that approximately one out of every four American adults has a mental health condition. If you have any of the following conditions, please speak with your health care provider.



Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States. People with Depression often have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Some people sleep for more hours than usual when depressed.


Signs of depression include:

  • Feeling sad most of the day, or every day
  • Lacking interest in or not enjoying activities that usually make you happy
  • Gaining or losing weight over a short period of time
  • Feeling like you have no energy and are worn out


Anxiety Disorders

Everyone feels worried sometimes, but some people have anxiety disorders. People with an anxiety disorder may have trouble falling asleep at night or wake up and be unable to fall back asleep.


Signs of anxiety disorders may include:

  • Worrying all the time, about large and small problems
  • Breathing rapidly or having a racing heartbeat
  • Feeling like you can’t concentrate
  • Sweating or having an upset stomach


Other mental health disorders include:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
  • Schizophrenia


Your health care provider can give you more information about managing your mental health and sleeping better.


Could your sleep disorder be causing your mental health problems?

Problems sleeping may cause or worsen mental health problems. Getting your sleep disorder treated is a key part of helping your overall mental health.


Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder and occurs when someone has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Everyone has an occasional bad night’s sleep, but insomnia means that you have trouble falling or staying asleep night after night.


People with insomnia tend to be more irritable, depressed and anxious. Getting your insomnia treated can help prevent you from developing depression. Studies show that people who have insomnia are ten times more likely to develop depression than people who sleep well.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a common sleep disorder. If you have OSA, it means that your airway collapses part or all of the way while you are sleeping.


Signs of OSA include:

  • Loud or frequent snoring
  • Daytime sleepiness or tiredness
  • Choking or gasping while you sleep


Many people with OSA have depression. The depression may improve when the OSA is treated, but you should talk with your health care provider about the best way to treat both your OSA and depression.


Other sleep disorders, like Restless Legs Syndrome and Narcolepsy can also affect your mood and quality of life.


Not everyone has every symptom for a disorder. If you think you have any of the previous symptoms of a sleep disorder or mental health disorder, please speak with your health care provider.


SOURCE: The American Academy of Sleep Medicine-


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