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To combat depression try fixing your sleep length

12-08-2014

To combat depression try fixing your sleep length

If you are depressed then you really need to have a look at your sleep length. Depression strikes many people and while there are many different factors in controlling your depression the research suggests that sleep can play a role.

Sleep and depression

For a long time the connection between sleep and depression has been made. Many researchers saw it as a chicken and egg type issue. They wondered, was it lack of sleep that caused or triggered depression or was depression the cause of poor sleep. Either way, the anecdotal evidence has been clear for a long time, those who suffer from depression are more likely to also have trouble with sleep than those who do not. While there are no hard and fast answers and it seems that it could work both ways there has been some new discoveries that hold promise at uncovering the connections.

New research

In a recent issue of the respected journal Sleep research was publish that showed that the wrong amount of sleep could actually activate depression-connected genes. This study used adult twins, 1700 of them. They found that for those who got normal amounts of sleep on a regular basis, or between 7 and 9 hours a night, the genetic influence on their depression was 27 per cent while in those who only slept for 5 hours a night it was 53 per cent, or roughly twice as much, while for those who slept for 10 hours or more it was 49 per cent. The lead iresearcher, Dr. Nathaniel Watson, who is an associate professor of neurology and co-director of the University of Washington Medicine Sleep Center in Seattle, said that “Both short and excessively long sleep durations appear to activate genes related to depressive symptoms,”

Another study confirms this

Another study seems to confirm this connection. This study looked at 4100 children between the ages of 11 and 17 and found that those sleeping for 6 hours or less each night were at a higher risk of suffering from depression. They also found that this depression meant that they were at higher risk of not sleeping as much. The lead researcher in this study, Dr. Robert Roberts, who is a professor of behavioural sciences in the School of Public Health at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, said that “These results are important because they suggest that sleep deprivation may be a precursor for major depression in adolescents, occurring before other symptoms of major depression and additional mood disorders.”

Sleep and depression

The connection between sleep and depression has become clearer. While it is not guaranteed to cure your depression if you are depressed you need to try and ensure that you are sleeping for between 7 and 9 hours a night. While this may be easier said than done, if you make the effort and succeed it could be worth it.


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