symptoms of night time depression

5 Hidden Symptoms of Night-time Depression You Shouldn’t Ignore.

Writen By: Faiza Saifur
Reviewed By: Huma Khan
Publish Date: August 4, 2023

Night-time depression, also known as nocturnal depression or evening depression, is a different form of depression that largely affects individuals during the evening and night hours. While depression can manifest at any time of the day, night-time depression specifically refers to the worsening or beginning of depressive symptoms during the evening or night-time. This phenomenon can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, disrupting their sleep patterns and worsening feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and anxiety. 

In this article, we will delve into the symptoms of night-time depression, explore effective coping strategies, and provide a list of valuable resources to help individuals find solace and support. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Night-time depression refers to the worsening or onset of depressive symptoms during the evening or nighttime hours. It is a different type of depression.
  • Night-time depression can disrupt sleep patterns, intensify feelings of sadness and anxiety, and have a significant impact on overall well-being.
  • There are numerous self-help strategies, therapies, and support networks available to individuals experiencing nighttime depression.
  • Educating oneself about the condition, seeking professional help, and utilizing available resources are vital steps toward recovery and improved mental health.

Detailed Symptoms of Night Time Depression:

1. Insomnia or Disrupted Sleep Patterns:

One of the main symptoms of nighttime depression is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. Individuals may find themselves tossing and turning, experiencing frequent awakenings, or waking up earlier than desired. These sleep disturbances can lead to feelings of tiredness and contribute to a cycle of fatigue and worsened mood.

2. Heightened Feelings of Sadness and Hopelessness.

During the evening or nighttime hours, individuals with nighttime depression may experience a notable increase in feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and despair. The stillness and quietness of the night can amplify these emotions, making them more well-known and overwhelming. The darkness and solitude may intensify the sense of isolation and sadness.

3. Increased Anxiety and Restlessness:

Nighttime can be a helpless period for individuals with nighttime depression, as it can turn on or heighten feelings of anxiety. Racing thoughts, excessive worrying, and a general sense of restlessness may become more pronounced during these hours. The expectation of another sleepless night or the fear of negative thoughts resurfacing can contribute to heightened anxiety levels.

4. Social Withdrawal and Reduced Interest:

Night-time depression can lead to a decreased desire to engage in social activities or interact with others. Individuals may isolate themselves from social gatherings, withdraw from friends and family, and experience a decline in interest in previously enjoyed hobbies or activities. They may find it challenging to concentrate or make decisions, further impacting their daily functioning.

5. Suicidal Thoughts or Self-Harm Tendencies:

In severe cases, nighttime depression can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or self-harming behaviors. The combination of heightened emotional distress, feelings of isolation, and the absence of distractions during the night may worsen these dangerous inclinations. It is crucial for individuals experiencing such thoughts to seek immediate professional help and support.

Top 10 Books to Help You Cope with Night Time Depression:

Reading can be a powerful tool in understanding and managing nighttime depression. Here is a list of ten highly recommended books that offer valuable insights, strategies, and support:

1. “The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression” by Andrew Solomon: 

A comprehensive exploration of depression, including personal stories and expert analysis.

2. “The Mindful Way through Depression” by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, Jon Kabat-Zinn: 

A guide to using mindfulness-based cognitive therapy to alleviate depression symptoms.

3. “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy” by David D. Burns: 

A classic self-help book that provides practical techniques to overcome depression.

4. “Reasons to Stay Alive” by Matt Haig: 

A memoir offering a personal account of living with and recovering from depression, providing hope and inspiration.

5. “The Upward Spiral by Alex Korb:

Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time” by Alex Korb: Explores the relationship between depression and brain function, offering actionable steps for recovery.

6. The Depression Cure by Stephen S:

The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs” by Stephen S. Ilardi: Presents a holistic approach to managing depression through lifestyle changes.

7. Lost Connections by Johann Hari : 

Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions” by Johann Hari: Investigates the social and environmental factors contributing to depression and offers alternative perspectives on treatment.

8. “The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris: 

How to Stop Struggling and Start Living” by Russ Harris: Provides strategies based on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to overcome depression and increase well-being.

9. “The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook” by Edmund J. Bourne: 

Although focused on anxiety, this workbook offers valuable techniques that can also help manage coexisting symptoms of depression.

10. “Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think” by Dennis Greenberger, Christine A. Padesky: 

A self-help guide that teaches cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) skills to address negative thinking patterns.

Causes of Night-Time Depression.

1. Overthinking: When you think too much about your responsibilities, past events, or things that bother you before going to bed, it can make you feel more depressed at night.

2. Too much stress: If you feel very tired and stressed out all the time, it can be hard for you to relax and feel better in the evening. This can make you feel sad and hopeless at night.

3. Sleep problems: If you have trouble falling asleep at night or your sleep patterns are messed up, it can make your depression worse. When you can’t sleep, you have more time to think about negative things, which can make you feel even sadder.

4. Night owl: Some people naturally stay up late. If you’re one of them, you may be more likely to feel depressed at night.

5. Screen time: Spending too much time using screens, like phones or computers, before bed can mess up your sleep. This can make your depression symptoms worse because your body doesn’t follow its natural nighttime routine.

6. Sleep Disorders: Problems like not being able to sleep (insomnia), trouble breathing during sleep (sleep apnea), or feeling restless in the legs can make it hard to sleep well. This can make you feel more depressed at night.

7. Hormonal Changes: When your hormones, which are special chemicals in your body, go through changes, like during menopause in women, it can affect your sleep and make you feel more depressed at night.

8. Underlying Mental Health Conditions: If you already have a mental health condition like feeling really sad (depression) or having extreme mood swings (bipolar disorder), you may feel even worse at night. This is because there are fewer distractions and less interaction with others.

9. Substance Use and Medications: Some things you might take, like alcohol, smoking, or certain medicines, can mess up your sleep and make your nighttime depression worse.

10. Trauma and PTSD: If you have been through something really bad (trauma) or have a condition called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you might feel more depressed at night. This is because the nighttime can remind you of those bad memories or give you scary dreams.

11. Genetic and Biological Factors: Some people might have genes or things happening in their body that make them more likely to feel depressed at night. This could be because of imbalances in certain chemicals in the brain or specific traits that run in the family.

Treatment of Night-Time Depression.

Treatment for nighttime depression typically involves a comprehensive approach that may include a combination of the following strategies:

1. Psychotherapy (Talk Therapy): 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a commonly used form of therapy for treating depression. It helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors contributing to nighttime depression. Therapists may also use other approaches, such as interpersonal therapy (IPT) or supportive therapy.

2. Medications: 

Antidepressant medications may be prescribed by a psychiatrist or primary care provider to help manage symptoms of nighttime depression. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or other types of antidepressants may be used. It is essential to consult a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate medication and dosage.

3. Light Therapy: 

For individuals experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD), light therapy can be beneficial. This involves exposure to a specialized lightbox that mimics natural sunlight and helps regulate circadian rhythms. Light therapy is typically used in the morning but can be adapted for evening use under professional guidance.

4. Sleep Hygiene

Establishing a consistent sleep routine and adopting good sleep hygiene practices can improve sleep quality and help alleviate nighttime depression. This may involve creating a comfortable sleep environment, practicing relaxation techniques before bed, avoiding stimulants like caffeine or electronic screens before bedtime, and maintaining regular sleep and wake times.

5. Lifestyle Changes: 

Engaging in regular physical exercise, incorporating stress-reduction techniques such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, and maintaining a healthy diet can all contribute to overall well-being and potentially reduce symptoms of nighttime depression.

6. Social Support

Building and maintaining social connections can be helpful in managing nighttime depression. Seeking support from friends, family, or joining support groups or therapy groups can provide a sense of belonging and emotional support.

Frequently Asked Questions about Night Time Depression:

What differentiates Night-Time Depression from general depression?

Night-time depression specifically refers to the worsening or onset of depressive symptoms during the evening or nighttime hours, while general depression is not time-specific.

How is Night-Time Depression diagnosed?

Diagnosis typically involves a thorough evaluation by a mental health professional, who will assess symptoms, medical history, and any potential underlying causes. They may also ask about sleep patterns and overall mood fluctuations.

Are there specific treatment options for Night-Time Depression?

Treatment for nighttime depression often involves a combination of psychotherapy, medication, lifestyle changes, and support networks. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized recommendations tailored to your specific needs.

What causes mental illness to worsen at night?

People may experience more nighttime depression since there are fewer diversions available. Insomnia brought on by depression can make people more irritable at night, which makes the underlying depression worse. Treatment for nocturnal depression typically entails addressing the depression’s underlying causes.

Can lifestyle changes help alleviate symptoms of Night-Time Depression?

Yes, lifestyle changes like maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, practicing relaxation techniques, engaging in regular exercise, and seeking social support can contribute to symptom management. These changes can help regulate mood and improve overall well-being.

Here are some valuable resources that can provide solace and support for individuals experiencing Night-Time Depression:

1. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): NAMI offers a wealth of resources, including helplines, support groups, educational materials, and advocacy for individuals with mental health conditions. Visit their website at www.nami.org.

2. Mental Health America (MHA): MHA provides an array of resources, screening tools, and information on various mental health conditions. They also offer a support community and a directory to find local mental health services. Visit their website at www.mhanational.org.

3. Sleep Foundation: The Sleep Foundation offers comprehensive information and resources to improve sleep quality and address sleep disorders, including resources specifically focused on insomnia and related mental health issues. Visit their website at www.sleepfoundation.org.

4. Talkspace: Talkspace is an online therapy platform that connects individuals with licensed therapists via text, audio, or video messaging. It provides a convenient and accessible way to seek professional support for nighttime depression. Visit their website at www.talkspace.com.

5. Support Groups: Joining support groups specifically tailored to nighttime depression can provide a sense of belonging and understanding. Websites like www.psychcentral.com  and www.meetup.com  often have listings for both online and in-person support groups.

Conclusion:

People may experience more nighttime depression since there are fewer hobbies available. Insomnia brought on by depression can make people more irritable at night, which makes the underlying depression worse. Treatment for nocturnal depression typically entails addressing the depression’s underlying causes. Even though it could be challenging, getting a good night’s sleep is frequently the best method to alleviate nighttime sadness. A person can try a variety of methods to do this, such as limiting bright lighting in the bedroom and avoiding coffee before bed.

Nighttime depression can be a challenging and distressing experience, but with proper understanding, support, and treatment, individuals can find relief and improve their overall well-being. It is essential to recognize the symptoms, seek professional help, and utilize available resources, such as self-help strategies, therapy, and support networks. Remember, you are not alone, and there is hope for a brighter tomorrow. By taking courageous steps toward managing nighttime depression, individuals can regain control of their lives and find a path toward healing and recovery.