Does Depression Make You Tired, and How?

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  • 22 Jan 2024
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It's a classic chicken or egg question: does sadness make you weary, or does fatigue create depression? The short answer to this question is yes and yes. Taking things a step further, I use the "both/and" technique, which states that they are both true and do not contradict each other. But that's the easy part. The actual question is how and why.

We're all aware that one of the most prevalent symptoms of depression is weariness. There are several major reasons for this, including increased stress, sleep disruptions, and a bad diet, among others. When you're weary, you don't have the energy to accomplish the things you need to do to get rid of your sadness.

One way I explain depression is as a "low mood" that relates not just to your mental condition but also to your general energy levels, which are drained and missing the "get up and go" attitude required to deal with despair. So begins the vicious cycle of declining energy and rising despair. This post will focus on how you can break the cycle. I'll explain why depression makes you fatigued and give you some strategies to assist you overcome this problem.

The Relationship Between Sleep and Depression

Poor sleep is a telltale indicator of depression. It might be due to persistent insomnia or because life demands and decisions force you to put sleep on the back burner, resulting in sleep deprivation. Simply being sleep deprived increases your likelihood of developing depression, either now or later.

According to research, three-quarters of persons who suffer from depression also have some sort of sleep disorder, indicating an indisputable correlation. Furthermore, studies have found that those who are not depressed but suffer from sleeplessness are more likely to develop depression later in life. Poor sleep leads to a lower quality of life and an increased risk of depression.

I've heard it stated too many times, "I'll sleep when I'm dead," but the fact is that if you don't practice appropriate sleep hygiene, death may arrive sooner. Inadequate sleep for a lengthy period will cost you dearly. It might manifest as sadness or an increased risk of accidents and chronic illnesses like high blood pressure and heart disease.

Naturally, the hurried pace of life encourages you to cut out the items you consider disposable or won't cost you much right now. What if you considered sleep as "non-negotiable" in the same way that you see many other life commitments? This is not intended to be harsh criticism, but rather to have you thinking about your life choices.

We've all been there. We've all sacrificed sleep to complete a goal or assignment, but if you find yourself doing so too frequently, it's time to reconsider your time management strategy. After all, life is a series of choices, and the ones we choose are determined by our priorities.

Easy Strategies to Improve Sleep

Here are a few simple ways you can develop healthy sleep hygiene:

Determine the number of hours of sleep required to feel and perform at your best. You may accomplish this by collecting some data. A simple note on how much sleep you get and how you feel the next day for a week or two might be quite enlightening.

2. The next step is to count backward from the time you need to wake up to determine the time you need to go to bed in order to receive X amount of hours every night. Make it a non-negotiable, fixed bedtime.

3. If there is noise in your house, try a white noise machine or earplugs to acquire the necessary hours of sound sleep. An eye mask might also be useful if there are any lights that may wake you awake.

The Stress Factor

Of course, sleep and stress are also associated. When the body is stressed, cortisol levels rise, making it difficult to sleep. The stress hormone, cortisol, is designed to provide you the energy to live. It triggers the "fight, flight, or freeze" reflex. This activates your brain and many of your body's emergency response mechanisms, which naturally keeps you from falling asleep because it is the exact opposite of what is required to survive.

When living in persistently stressful settings, such as situations of abuse, financial hardship, or with environmental elements, such as high crime rates and violence, the continual flow of cortisol will impair not just your general functioning but brain performance as well. We see this with children and their difficulties in school when they come from insecure family and community contexts.

Tips on How to Reduce Stress in Your Life

You will not be able to completely escape stress in your life, but you can guarantee that you have the necessary coping abilities, which comes down to a decent self-care regimen. Here are some simple examples:

  1. Make sure you get sufficient social and emotional support.
  2. Stay active. This doesn’t have to mean going to the gym regularly. Just a brisk walk can be enough to get some endorphins flowing, which will give you that natural good vibe feeling.
  3. Get enough outdoor time to help with increasing vitamin D in your body.
  4. Take a break throughout your day, i.e. taking your lunch.
  5. Treat yourself to something that you enjoy—a good massage, an evening with your faith community, or putting on a favorite movie.


Nutrition Is Key

There have never been truer statements than "you are what you eat". If you make good dietary choices, you have a higher chance of feeling better physically, which affects how you feel emotionally and so makes you more energetic.

Additionally, diets high in omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve mental wellness. It is assumed to be owing in part to its anti-inflammatory properties, as well as the fatty acids DHA and EPA, which have been discovered to be much lower in people who are depressed than those who are not. Omega-3s will not cure your depression, but they may assist, and they are recognized to be part of a balanced diet.

Following the guidelines of a healthy general diet can also boost your energy levels, which will aid in your fight against depression. Carbs, sweets, trans fats, and saturated fats—yes, all the wonderful stuff—will frequently leave you feeling tired, bloated, and just blah. Try to pick fresh fruits and vegetables that fit the framework of a Mediterranean diet, and observe how you feel after a few days.

Summing It Up

If you want to get rid of sadness and boost your energy, you may start by improving your sleep, minimizing stress, and consuming an omega-3-rich diet. Depression is unavoidable after all of these conditions improve.

Simply, sleep well, eat properly, and exercise regularly, even if you don't feel like it. Believe it or not, even minor adjustments can have a significant influence on your quality of life. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, adequate sleep, and self-care to reduce stress are all components of the regimen that will assist you in addressing depression in your life.

Sometimes, restoring energy is the opposite of what we might expect, which is to rest—and yes, we do need to rest—but getting out there and moving your body can be one of the best ways to find the energy you're looking for, addressing all three areas of your life: sleep, stress, and nutrition. So, you might argue that in order to find energy, you must first waste it.

Next time you're feeling down and out of energy, look at these areas of your life and see what changes you can make. It might simply mean that you feel more energized and healthier about your life.

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