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Why do I sleep a lot when I'm sad?

Updated: May 30, 2023

"When I’m sad, I sleep. A lot. Anyone else?" Sleep and sadness often seem related, whether it's too much or too little. I'm sorry you are struggling with that.

It can be quite a task to tease out whether the sadness is causing the increase in sleep, or the increase in sleep is causing the sadness, or whether something else is causing both, or whether they are truly independent.

It can take a lot of self-awareness, tracking, and meetings with experts to figure it out sometimes.

I like to give priority to the body in times like that. There can be medical reasons for increases in sleep. These can range from serotonin syndrome to viral illness. Sometimes normal physiological processes, such as menopause, can cause the body to need more sleep. A visit to your doctor can be a good place to start.

Depression can be caught up in this, too--either as cause or effect. Does the depression cause the sadness and lack of sleep? Does the sadness and lack of sleep cause the depression? Working with a therapist can help you tease through those issues.

Sadness is a normal part of life. Grief and loss, too. To suffer from these things is not a disease or pathological process. And yet it can be draining for humans. Emotions take energy! Sometimes the body needs more sleep in order to recuperate from that energy loss. That can be a good reason for more sleep when sad--and that is not caused by disease or disorder.

Yet sometimes we use sleep as a tool to give ourselves a break from emotions--or even to avoid emotions and responsibilities. Self-awareness exercises can help uncover some of the ways we use sleep for things other than rest.

You are the expert of your life, and there are lots of folks around who can help you.

And you aren't alone! I tend to sleep a lot at times for some of the reasons above--sometimes from physiological and emotional reasons (and sometimes from avoidance). Exploring the causes helps us to find workable solutions.

Want support for your sleep issues?

Let's talk.

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