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Is It Depression or a Sleep Disorder?

Overlapping Symptoms May Delay a Diagnosis


Updated August 04, 2014

Is It Depression or a Sleep Disorder?

Before chalking your mood problems up to depression, perhaps you should consider a sleep disorder. Many common symptoms are used to identify someone with depression. These include:

  • changes in sleep (sleeping more or sleeping less)
  • decreased interest levels
  • feelings of guilt
  • decreased energy levels
  • poor concentration
  • changes in appetite (eating more or eating less)
  • increased psychomotor agitation (wringing hands, pacing, etc.)
  • thoughts of hurting oneself or others
  • feeling depressed

Many of these symptoms overlap with common sleep disorders including sleep apnea, a circadian rhythm disorder like seasonal affective disorder, or insomnia. In addition, there could be medical problems contributing such as hypothyroidism, which may be undiagnosed in 10% of Americans.

It may be difficult to distinguish a mood disorder from sleep problems. If you suspect you may have a sleep disorder, it may be time to get evaluated and undergo a sleep study. You may find that better sleep at night is just the thing you need to improve your mood.

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