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悩む男
悩む男

5人に1人が悩む睡眠障害とうつ病の関係を知ることが、改善への道

悩む男

精神疾患の中でも、もっともよく耳にするうつ病は、現在日本の5人に1人が悩んでいると言われている不眠症などの睡眠障害と密接な関係があります。

睡眠障害に早くから気付き、改善していくということは、うつ病への予防にもなるのです。

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睡眠障害を知っておこう

満月

睡眠障害とは、睡眠時間が足りていないのに眠れなくなる不眠症と、睡眠時間は足りているのに寝すぎてしまう過眠症の二つに、大きく分けられます。また更に、そこから細かく症状によって分けられています。

不眠症

入眠障害

  • 就寝しようとしてもなかなか寝付けない
  • 次の日のことを考えて不安になる・焦りを感じ尚寝付けなくなる
  • 朝まで寝付けないことや徹夜になることが多い

中途覚醒

  • 眠りについたのに頻繁に目が覚めてしまう
  • 十分な睡眠時間を得られない
  • 中高年に多い

熟眠障害

  • 十分な睡眠時間をとっているはずなのに、眠りが浅く熟眠感が得られない
  • どれだけ寝ても心身の疲れが取れない
  • 成長期に多い

早朝覚醒

  • 朝早く目覚めてしまう、再び寝ることができない
  • 日中に耐え難い眠気に襲われることがある
  • 高齢に多い

過眠症

ナルコプレシー

  • 日中の耐え難い眠気と居眠りが繰り返し生じる
  • 居眠りは30分程度と短いことが多い
  • 笑ったり怒ったりすると突然体中の力が抜けることがある
  • 入眠時に金縛りや夢と現実の区別がつかなくなることがある

突発性過眠症

  • 昼間の眠気と居眠りを主症状とする
  • 居眠りは1時間以上続き、寝覚めはすっきりとせず眠気が持続することが多い
  • 夜間睡眠が10時間以上と著しく長い場合が多い

反復性過眠症

  • 強い眠気を呈する(傾眠期)が3日~3週間持続した後、自然と回復する
  • 回復後、不定期で症状が現れる場合と現れない場合がある
  • 非常に珍しいタイプ

このように、不眠症・過眠症といっても様々なタイプに分けられ、原因や治療方針も変わっていきます。睡眠障害を放っておくと、様々な心身の疾患を併発することがあるので、早めに自認し治療することが大切です。

睡眠障害とうつ病の関係

現代病としてよく耳にするうつ病ですが、深刻な症状が出る前から不眠症や過眠症といった形で現れることがあります。それらを事前知識として知っておくことが、うつ病の早期発見に繋がります。

うつ病を患っている方の大半が寝むれない・眠りが浅い・朝早く目覚めるといった不眠症の症状に悩まされています。また、年齢の若い方はいくら寝ても眠気がとれない・日中に生活に支障をきたす位の強い眠気に襲われるなどの過眠症の症状に悩まされる方も多いです。

うつ病患者の不眠は、うつ病を悪化させる場合があり、うつ病が重症化するケースも多いです。うつ病患者が不眠に悩まされる原因は、うつ病の原因の一つであるセロトニンが大きく関係しています。

人間は睡眠時にメラトニンという睡眠ホルモンが分泌されます。ですがメラトニンの分泌を促す作用をもつ、セロトニンが少なくなっているうつ病患者の場合、メラトニンの分泌が減り不眠の症状が現れます。とくに熟眠障害と早朝覚醒がうつ病患者に多くみられる不眠のタイプのようです。

逆を言えば不眠症を患っている方が、うつ病になるケースも少なくはないということです。不眠症は長期的に継続するようでしたら、うつ病の危険性も考えたほうが良いでしょう。

睡眠障害の治療方法

睡眠障害の治療法として、主に用いられるのが向精神薬になります。

ただし、向精神薬は医者にかからなければ処方はされませんし、副作用や金銭面などの問題で、本当に必要になった場合以外での服用はあまりお勧めできません、なので本記事では、向精神薬を使わずに睡眠障害を改善する方法を記載させていただきます。

まず、不眠に対しての考え方から変えていくことが大切です。不眠症の患者の多くは眠れないことが焦りや不安になっているため、「寝よう…寝ないといけない…」と自らに余計な加圧(ストレス)をかけてしまいます。はじめにこの考えを改めることが必要です。

人間は必要以上に食事や睡眠をとろうとしてもとれません。なぜなら、必要な分しか必要としていないからです。高齢の方が平均6時間程度の睡眠で目覚めるのは、6時間の睡眠で十分だからなのです。理想的な睡眠時間は8時間と言いますが、実際にその位の睡眠時間を必要とするのは中学生までで、成人後は7時間前後が人体に必要な睡眠時間になります。

また、寝付くのが遅くても、夜中何度覚醒してしまっても、日中の活動に支障さえなければなんの問題もありません。

まとめ

まずは、病気を知ることが大切です。

そして、病気や症状の正しい判断と診断が大切になります。誤った知識や、間違った観念などが不眠症を悪化させることもあるように、正しい知識と正しい治療法に沿って改善していくことが大切です。

また、向精神薬を服用する前に、生活リズムの改善やストレスの解消など、原因を突き止め解決していくことも必要です。
本記事では以下3つを心がけることをお勧めします。

  • 眠れない時は無理に寝ようとしない
  • 自分に合った睡眠時間以上は無理にとろうとしない
  • 日中に支障がなければ気にしない

ただし、日常生活に支障をきたす程度の不眠や過眠の場合は一度、心療内科または精神科を受診してみましょう。

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