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Lack of Sleep May Lead to Depression

Updated: Nov 24, 2019

The most common symptoms of depression are: lack of sleep, insomnia, early wakefulness and inability to sleep long.

I think the majority of us can admit to experiencing increased irritability or sadness in result of lack of sleep. However, everyone is different. There are certain instances where increased periods of sleeping may be practiced among individuals who are already diagnosed with depression. There are also instances where lack of sleep does not lead to depression and may be unrelated to a person's diagnosis. However, among the majority, there may be a correlation between depression and decreased sleep.

What is Depression?

As stated by the NIMH, depression may present in different levels and severity depending on each individual. Depression is considered as a disorder that affects an individual's mood and is responsible for negatively affecting: thinking, feeling, and daily activities such as eating, talking and sleeping. Different forms of depression may range from temporary to psychotic, but either way it is not a practice of healthy living.

Sign and symptoms of depression include:  

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood

  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism

  • Irritability

  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities

  • Decreased energy or fatigue

  • Moving or talking more slowly

  • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping

  • Appetite and/or weight changes

  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts

  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment [2]

Symptoms such as irritability, decreased energy, slow motor functions, concentration and memory issues, and headaches can also be linked to decreased sleep or frequently interrupted sleep .

Benefits of Sleep

With all of the symptoms associated with depression, sleeping may decrease the majority of them that are associated with it and other mental health conditions. Being able to reset and restore the natural body processes allows for optimal healing to take place throughout the entire body. Therefore, it is important to practice healthy sleeping habits in order to potentiate optimal health.

Enhance Sleep Quality

There are several ways to naturally enhance sleep quality without the intervention of pharmacological medications. These methods include use of: essential oils, Valerian, chamomile, melatonin and a sleep mask. 

Essential Oils

Oils have been used for centuries to induce relaxation and promote uninterrupted sleep. Oils most prominent for enhanced sleep quality are: 

  • Eucalyptus: may improve cognition and induce relaxation

  • Lavender: may reduce anxiety and improve sleep scores

  • Rosemary: when combined with lavender oil, can facilitate the decreased release of certain stress hormones , leading to relaxation and sound sleep

  • Relaxing effects of essential oils may be enhanced in any combination to combat the signs and symptoms of anxiety, poor sleep cycles and restlessness.

Valerian Root

This is the best herbal root that has been used for sleep disorders, moods disorders (such as depression) and chronic fatigue. The mechanism of action of this drug for sleep is increased total sleeping time and quality. Through personal experience, I have experienced sound sleep and I never realize I am even sleeping until I wake up. Nevertheless, taking a dose of Valerian root allows me to wake up feel energized and well rested no matter if I am getting 3 hours or 10 hours of sleep.


Chamomile is a herb used mainly for insomnia and restlessness. It is unknown how the constituent of this herb enhances sleep quality, but it is thought to be related to the activation of GABA receptors (the site of benzodiazepines in the central nervous system). Nevertheless, it has been proven to promote relaxation and sleep.


Capsule melatonin mimics the body's natural hormone and works to regulate the body's circadian rhythm. It releases sleep hormones in response to receptor activation and many of the symptoms of insomnia, jet lag or shift work disorder, are resolved. If you have never taken melatonin, it is best to start with a low dose and increase as you see appropriate.

Sleep Mask | Blackout Curtains

Light is a sleep disruptor that suppresses the hormone, nocturnal melatonin, responsible for controlling hormones involved in sleep rhythm.  Whether you are trying to sleep during the day or night, blocking excess light allows the body to regulate the appropriate hormones necessary to obtain sound sleep. Using sleeping mask and /or blackout curtains are capable of blocking the excess light. 

Take Away

So my advice to you is to not miss out on sleep! sleep as much and as long as you can. If you are able to get the proper amount of rest, you will increase chance of productivity and alertness and reduce the chances of depression.


[1] Sleep and Depression. (2017). WebMD. Retrieved 19 June 2017, from

[2]NIMH » Depression. (2017). Retrieved 19 June 2017, from

[3] Melatonin. Natural Medicine Database. retrieved from,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=940#peopleUseThisFor

[4] Dave, K., Qureshi, A., & Gopichandran, L. (2015). Effects of Earplugs and Eye Masks on Perceived Quality of Sleep during Night among Patients in Intensive Care Units. Asian Journal Of Nursing Education & Research, 5(3), 319-322. doi:10.5958/2349-2996.2015.00065.8

[5] Valerian. Natural Medicine Database. retrieved from,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=870#mechanismOfAction

[6] Chamomile. Natural Medicine Database. retrieved from,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=951#mechanismOfAction

About Me

Hi I am Dr. MIG, the family nurse practitioner, certified lifestyle medicine professional, fitness enthusiast, herbal counselor and wellness motivator and I am happy you landed here !


Check out the rest of Rooted Vigor's content as I encourage a whole mind, body, and soul approach to disease prevention and lifestyle modification.

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