Poor sleep has been linked to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and psychosis.
Insomnia and other sleep problems increase your risk of developing depression. And it works the other way around too: depression can also cause insomnia.
Up to 90% of people with depression have some kind of sleep problem. In most cases they have insomnia, but about 1 in 5 experience obstructive sleep apnoea. Depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can make you sleep more, stay in bed for longer or sleep more often.
Insomnia and other sleep problems can limit how well treatment for depression works. They also increase the severity of depressive symptoms and make you more at risk of thinking about suicide.
This means it’s really important if you have depression and insomnia to view them as two separate problems and get help to improve your sleep.
Sleep problems affect up to 75% of people who experience generalised anxiety disorder. To a lesser extent, they also affect people with other anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and phobias.
Anxiety can cause racing or repetitive thoughts, and worries that keep you awake. You may also have panic attacks while you're trying to sleep.
Insomnia may also be a risk factor for developing an anxiety disorder, but not as much as it is for major depression. However, insomnia can make the symptoms of anxiety disorders worse or make it harder to recover.
For these reasons, if you have any kind of anxiety disorder and you are having problems with your sleep get help to improve it.
PTSD and trauma
Sleep disturbances affect up to 90% of people experiencing PTSD. If you've gone through trauma, this can cause flashbacks, nightmares or night terrors that disturb your sleep. You might feel unsafe or uncomfortable in bed or in the dark.
Between 70–99% of people with bipolar disorder experience insomnia or sleep difficulties during a manic episode. Mania often causes feelings of energy and elation, so you might not feel tired or want to sleep. Racing thoughts can also keep you awake and cause insomnia.
In bipolar depression, however, many people sleep excessively (hypersomnia), while others may experience insomnia or restless sleep. A majority (70%) of people with bipolar disorder also report sleep disturbance between mood episodes.
Talk to your healthcare provider about your sleep and get help to learn how to manage it well.
Sleep disturbances are common across all ages of people who experience ADHD. Both adolescents and adults with ADHD have more sleep disturbance than people without ADHD. Studies have found up to 65% of adults with ADHD experience insomnia.
Various sleep problems affect up to half of children with ADHD. Typical problems include difficulty falling asleep, sleeping for a shorter time and restless sleep.
The symptoms of ADHD and sleeping difficulties overlap so it can be difficult to tease them apart. About 1 in 4 children with ADHD have sleep-disordered breathing and about 1 in 3 have restless legs syndrome. Children with these sleep disorders may become hyperactive, inattentive and emotionally unstable, even when they do not meet the diagnostic criteria for ADHD.
Paranoia and psychosis may make it difficult to sleep. You may hear voices, or see things you find frightening or disturbing.
Talk to your healthcare provider if this is happening for you.