Depression and Sleep Disorders

Sleeping too much or too little sleep are symptoms of depression or could be caused by depression. Find out about depression and insomnia and other sleep disorders.

Depression and sleep disorders or sleep problems seem to go hand-in-hand. Any type of sleep disorder has been shown to worsen the symptoms of depression.

Symptoms of Major Depression

Major depression is the most common mood disorder in the US and accounts for almost a quarter of all mental illness. Major depression is characterized by:

  • Feelings of sadness, anxiety, irritability or emptiness
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Loss of enjoyment in things previously found pleasurable
  • Lack of energy
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • An increase or decrease in sleep

Although a person is considered depressed if any five of these are experienced for two weeks or more, almost all people with depression suffer from some form of sleep disorder. While not fully understood, sleep is clearly linked with mental health and insomnia is considered a hallmark of depression.

Depression and Insomnia (Sleeping Too Little)

Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by the inability to get to sleep or remain asleep. People with insomnia often wake repeatedly during the night and don't feel rested in the morning. Insomnia can cause or worsen fatigue, already a symptom of depression.

Depression and Hypersomnias (Sleeping Too Much)

While many people with depression sleep too little, it is also common to sleep too much. Sleep can be seen as a way to escape the negative thoughts associated with depression.


1 No listed author. Mental Health and Depression Statistics Accessed Aug. 3, 2010

2 No listed author. Sleep and Depression WebMD. Accessed Aug. 3, 2010

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2019, September 8). Depression and Sleep Disorders, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 22 from

Last Updated: September 18, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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