The Cleveland Clinic

Sleep Disorders: Sleep and Depression

Depression is a mood disorder that is characterized by sadness, or having the blues. Nearly everyone feels sad or down from time to time. Sometimes, however, the sad feelings become intense, last for long periods, and keep a person from leading a normal life.

The symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling extremely sad, anxious, irritable or empty
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Loss of enjoyment in things that were once pleasurable
  • Lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, thinking or making decisions
  • Changes in appetite that lead to changes in weight
  • An increase or decrease in the need for sleep
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or attempting suicide. (If you are thinking of suicide, call your local 24-hour suicide hotline right away.)

Depression is classified as major if the person has at least five of these symptoms for two weeks or more. However, there are several types of depressive disorders. Someone with fewer than five of these symptoms who is having difficulty functioning should seek treatment for his or her symptoms. Tell your doctor how you are feeling. He or she may refer you to a mental health care specialist.