Go To Sleep!
February 5, 2014

Go To Sleep!

Last night, I could not sleep. I do not know what it was specifically that caused it, but then again this is not all that abnormal for me. Once or twice per week, I usually find that to be the case. I either just will not be tired, or worse I will be tired but still find myself unable to just keep my eyes shut and drift off into dreams. It usually leaves me feeling drained the following day and notably more miserable than I would be otherwise, but is little more than an annoyance most of the time. This time though, I found myself agitated enough to comb the internet for various remedies to this annoying lack of rest and came across a rather interesting study.

In a study led by Dr. Nathaniel Watson, an associate professor of neurology and co-director of the University of Washington Sleep Center in Seattle, as well as a member of the board of directors of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, which is the group that founded this study, it was discovered that there might actually be strong links between the amount of sleep someone gets and depression. In their study, conducted by observing 1,788 adult twins, they found that among those who slept between seven and 9 hours per night only around 27 percent showed signs of depression, while those that often got less sleep (around five hours per night) and those who usually got too much (ten or more hours per night) showed much higher percentages of those with depressive symptoms, 53 percent among those who got too little and 49 percent among those who got too much. In addition, in a separate study (also conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine), showed that among adolescents, less than six hours of sleep per night greatly increased the risk of suffering from major depression, which would then further increase the risk for decreased sleep; a cruel biological cycle. “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,” says Dr. Robert E. Roberts, professor of behavioral sciences in the School of Public Health at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston and principal investigator in this second study. “Questions on sleep disturbance and hours of sleep should be part of the medical history of adolescents to ascertain risk.” More and more, these studies are showing us just how important sleep is for a healthy and apparently happy life.

According to Dr. M. Safwan Badr, President of the American Academy of Sleep, “Healthy sleep is a necessity for physical, mental, and emotional well-being. This new research emphasizes that we can make an investment in our health by prioritizing sleep.”

I think it would be in poor taste to make a joke about how reading this during this bout out sleeplessness of mine has made me depressed, so I will not. Even so, it is definitely something to think on as I go to resume tossing and turning in bed.

Good night, day, morning, or whatever it is.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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