In each issue of WebMD the Magazine, we put five of the most-asked questions on the WebMD community boards to one of our health experts. In our January-February 2011 issue, we gave WebMD's sleep expert, Michael Breus, PhD, ABSM, the top five sleep questions -- including why we need it, how much we need, even whether or not it can really make us beautiful.
People who are depressed have a tendency to wake up early, and then cannot fall asleep again. This can make their depression worse, because the amount of sleep a person gets has an effect on his or her illness. People who don't have a psychiatric illness but suffer from insomnia are more likely to develop a disorder like depression later in their life.
Insomnia can also have a negative impact on treatment of psychiatric disorders. The treatment itself can cause sleep problems; for instance, some medications used to treat these disorders have side effects that can make it difficult for patients to fall or stay asleep.
It's important for people who have a psychiatric disorder to work closely with their doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment that will allow them to get the sleep they need.