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Sleepless in America

What's Keeping You Up All Night? Why Is Sleep So Important Information For Families How To Get A Better Night's Sleep Are You Moody Or Irritable? Get Sleep Tools


Are You Moody Or Irritable?

Sleep loss can be caused by a person’s physical or mental state. Insomnia can sometimes be a temporary response to stress. But if your stress and sleep trouble last for more than two weeks or interfere with your life, they may be signs of something more serious.


Sleeplessness, frequent nighttime waking, or sleeping too much can be symptoms of depression. Clinical depression is more than passing sadness, and it’s not something a person can snap out of. It is a real, treatable imbalance in brain chemicals.

Other symptoms of depression:

  • Sad, empty, irritable or tearful mood most of the day, nearly every day
  • No interest in or pleasure from activities once enjoyed
  • Major changes in appetite or body weight
  • Feelings of restlessness or being slowed down
  • Fatigue, exhaustion, lack of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Click here for a confidential depression screening

Click here for more information about depression

Bipolar Disorder

Sleeplessness can also be a symptom of bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder have alternating periods of high and low mood. During the low periods, they have symptoms of depression. During the high periods they have symptoms of mania. In mania, a person may go for days without sleep and not miss it.

Other symptoms of mania:

  • Feeling overly energetic, high, better than good, or unusually irritable for at least one week
  • Very high self-esteem, feeling like you can do anything
  • Talking more than usual, feeling pressure to keep talking
  • Racing thoughts, many ideas coming all once
  • Distracted easily, thoughts or statements jumping topic-to-topic
  • Increase in goal-directed activity, restlessness
  • Excessive pursuit of pleasure (e.g., financial or sexual) without thought of consequences

Manic enthusiasm may lead to angry outbursts and bizarre thoughts. Many people report intense paranoia during mania, as well as difficulty thinking clearly and sometimes a loss of contact with reality.

Bipolar disorder is treatable with medication, therapy and support. The earlier a person gets and stays with treatment for bipolar disorder, the more likely he or she will be able to keep future episodes under control.

Click here for a confidential bipolar disorder screening

Click here for more information about bipolar disorder

Treatments For Depression And Bipolar Disorder

Seeking treatment is nothing to be ashamed of. Don’t let fear or embarrassment stand in the way of talking honestly with your health care providers about depression or bipolar disorder. For many people, the best treatment is a combination of medication, therapy and support from people who understand.

  • Talk therapy can help you address and cope with feelings. It can also help you identify and change behavior and thought patterns that may contribute to your illness. A good therapist helps you find the tools to work toward your own wellness. The skills you learn in therapy can help you throughout your life.
  • Medications can also be helpful, especially if your depression is severe or chronic, or if you have disabling or dangerous manias. Medications are not habit forming and do not alter your personality. It may take some time for these medications to take effect, so don’t give up hope if you don’t feel better immediately. Keep track of the medications and dosages you take, along with your mood levels.
  • Support. A support group is a free and confidential place where you can talk to people who have had similar experiences with depression and hear how they coped. Support groups can provide insight, understanding and an opportunity to reach out to those who have been there. Click here for a directory of support groups for depression and bipolar disorder.

Learn more about the connection between sleep and mood disorders by visit the following pages: