Insomnia and depression often go hand in hand. Researchers have wondered whether it’s a chicken or egg phenomenon. In other words, does depression trigger insomnia or do sleeping problems contribute to depression?
A new study may not answer the question of causality, but it shows that people who are depressed and can’t get a good night’s sleep benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy designed to counteract insomnia. The participants received four sessions of talk therapy two weeks apart. They kept track of their sleeping patterns in journals and they took pills, either antidepressants or placebos. Those who responded well to the cognitive therapy had far fewer symptoms of depression at the end of the eight week study regardless of which pill they were taking.
[Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Nashville, Nov. 23, 2013]
Certain antidepressants and the sleeping pills that may be prescribed to treat insomnia linked to depression can be difficult to stop. Having the tools of cognitive behavioral therapy available whenever sleep might seem elusive could be a very healthy alternative.