Does too much sleep lead to depression?

I’ve been having a really hard time getting up in the morning. I could stagger from the bed to the couch, but I can easily fall right back asleep for hours. It’s not like I’ve been going to sleep that late. It’s gotten to a point where I can sleep even after 11 a.m., which kills trying to get anything accomplished in the morning. Then I’m having a somewhat similar problem at night where I start falling asleep, sometime after dinnertime.  What am I doing wrong?

Apparently, this ‘condition’ could be called hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness, tiredness), and I came across a new study that reported that hypersomnia among bipolar disorder (BD) patients who are in an inter-episode period may predict future depressive symptoms. According to the article in the Journal of Affective Disorders, Allison Harvey (University of California, Berkeley) and team explain that BD patients “in the inter-episode period spend roughly 50% of their time unwell, and these symptoms predict relapse into mania or depression. Hence, there is a critical need to identify aspects of the illness that contribute to inter-episode dysfunction and to relapse.” (Below this post is a shortened version of the article)

So, what am I to do about this? If I fix my sleep issues, would I be able to avoid a possibly incoming depressive episode? This particular study doesn’t answer that question, but I’m hoping that this is the case. If anything, I can go back to getting to sleep around the same time every night and try my hardest to get up at the same time each morning. If that means curing my hypersomniac tendencies as well as ward off future depression, I’m more than willing to follow that rule.

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Hypersomnia in inter-episode bipolar disorder: Does it have prognostic significance?
Katherine A. Kaplan, June Gruber, Polina Eidelman, Lisa S. Talbot and Allison G. Harvey
Journal of Affective Disorders
, Volume 132, Issue 3, August 2011, Pages 438-444

Background
Hypersomnia in inter-episode bipolar disorder has been minimally researched. The current study sought to document the prevalence of hypersomnia in a sample of inter-episode patients with bipolar disorder and to examine the relationship between hypersomnia and future bipolar depressive symptoms.

Methods
A total of 56 individuals with bipolar disorder (51 type I + 5 type II) who were currently inter-episode, along with 55 non-psychiatric controls, completed a baseline assessment, including semi-structured interviews for psychiatric diagnoses, sleep disorders, and a battery of indices that included assessment of hypersomnia. Approximately 6 months later, participants were recontacted by telephone and mood was re-evaluated.

Results
Three of six indices suggested that approximately 25% of participants with bipolar disorder endorsed symptoms of hypersomnia in the inter-episode period. Within the bipolar group, hypersomnia in the inter-episode period was associated with future depressive symptoms. This finding was independent of baseline depressive symptoms and medication use.

Limitations
Small sample size and concurrent psychopharmacology in the bipolar sample.

Discussion
Though no gold standard measure for hypersomnia currently exists, this research takes a step towards identifying a clinically and empirically useful hypersomnia assessment. This study demonstrates that hypersomnia in the inter-episode period of bipolar disorder relates to future depressive symptoms, and adds to the growing body of evidence on the importance of inter-episode symptoms predicting bipolar relapse.

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One Comment to “Does too much sleep lead to depression?”

  1. Sorry to leave an unrelated comment, but I couldn’t find any contact info for you. I’m wondering if you’d be interested in having a guest post on your site. Please drop me an e-mail at alliegamble81@gmail.com. Thanks!

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