Sudden Change in Sleep Causes Depressed Feelings?

by Heidi M.
(Montreal Quebec Canada )

I used to sleep all day or only for a few hours a day for a month. A few days ago I abruptly changed my sleep times and slept at night. I feel messed up now. I've been feeling exhausted and really depressed for a few days. (I felt like this in the beginning too, when sleep was irregular.) I'm scared because I don't feel like myself. I just got my period too, so maybe PMS is adding to it. Can abruptly changing your sleep schedule do this to you?


Ben's Answer:

Can sudden changes in sleep cause feelings of depression? Definitely. Not getting enough sleep can definitely cause feelings of depression, as well as fatigue, poor concentration, memory problems, and irritability. People who work irregular schedules - evening or late night shifts, often experience many of these symptoms. Our brains are designed to regulate wake and sleep based on the amount of daylight that enters through your eyes. It is natural for us to be awake in the daytime, and asleep at night. When we start messing that rhythm up and keep changing the sleep pattern, the brain gets confused. Getting too little sleep can also lead to all sorts of physical health problems, lower your immune system, and raise the risk of chronic illnesses.

PMS can certainly add to all of this too. But, take the hint from your body, and see if you can get on a regular night time sleep schedule, with at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. You'll feel much better within a few days. But be patient, it may take a while to get back into a natural cycle, and you may have some insomnia at first.

You'll remember your dreams more if you go to sleep earlier in the evening and sleep for more hours. Having time to dream is very important for our mental and emotional health.

Take Care,
Ben

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