WebMD BlogsMental Health

Sleep Problems as a Symptom of Depression?

By Thomas L. Schwartz, MDMay 23, 2011
From the WebMD Archives
Do you suffer from insomnia or lack of sleep? Or are you on the opposite extreme — do you sleep all day? These symptoms are called hyposomnia and hypersomnia technically.

Some patients suffer either one of these as their only medical problem and not as part of a depressive disorder. But more often than not, one of these two symptoms occurs in those suffering from depression.

  • Hyposomnia (too little sleep): Patients report that they cannot fall asleep, stay asleep, or wake up hours before they are supposed to. They report next day fatigue, irritability and an inability to concentrate.
  • Hypersomnia (too much sleep): Patients report that they sleep fine at night but often will oversleep, perhaps until noon. They will then doze off and nap much more during the day.

In depression, either one of these two symptoms may develop and they may be treated differently.

  • First, any FDA approved antidepressant may treat hypo or hypersomnia, as antidepressants should be able to treat all nine symptoms of depression in one pill.
  • Some FDA antidepressants appear to be more sedating and sleep inducing and may be preferential in practice for those with marked insomnia (hyposomnia). Agents such as trazodone or mirtazapine may be warranted.
  • Some FDA antidepressants appear to be more activating and energy producing and may be preferential in practice for those with marked hypersomnia. Agents such as bupropion or protryptiline may be warranted

Unfortunately, there is a flip side: The sedating antidepressants may make you sleep well at night but also make you tired during the day. The more activating antidepressants may keep you awake during the day and then make it difficult for you to fall asleep at night. So, medications always have to weigh the good effects versus the possible negative effects.

WebMD Blog
© 2011 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
Blog Topics:

More from the Mental Health Blog

View all posts on Mental Health

Latest Blog Posts on WebMD

View all blog posts

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Read More