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Can Poor Sleep Cause Depression?


A new study has found that adults have a higher risk of depression and bipolar mood disorders if they suffer from a disrupted sleep-wake cycle. Also, person who is less active during the day due to depression or increased activity at night has a greater chance of disrupted sleep patterns and a lower level of reported well-being, compared to people who are typically active in the day and enjoy a restful sleep at night.

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Study Reveals Link Between Disrupted Sleep and Increased Depression Risk

Researchers in the United Kingdom studied a large group of more than 90,000 adult residents, and concluded that there is a strong association between altered circadian rhythms and mood disorders. The study was published in The Lancet Psychiatryin May. Circadian rhythms are the biological and behavioral patterns of human beings that follow a typical 24-hour day cycle. Biological clocks are proteins found inside cells of living things.

Changes in the environment influence a persons circadian rhythm. Daylight, in fact, switches on and off biological clock genes. What is known as a master clock resides in the brain that function to regulate our biological clocks and is linked to the eyes. Our sleep-wake cycle responds to light (daytime) and dark (night).

Disruption of this sleep-wake cycle leads to mood disorders, and a higher risk of developing these disorders. Many people wake up or become restless in the middle of the night. Someone with reduced activity during the day (or depression) or more activity at night (such as a work shift) has a lower relative amplitude, or pattern of mood disorder, in addition to reporting of less general well-being. The U.K. researchers also found people with disrupted sleep patterns to be moodier, less happy, lonelier and less satisfied with health and well-being; in addition to slower reaction times affecting their cognitive function.

Melatonin: The Recommended Sleep Aid

One optimal and quick fix would be to take a slow-release melatonin supplement, which is important in the regulation of circadian rhythms. Melatonin is the most studied natural remedy for insomnia. According to the U.S. Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health (NIH), melatonin supplements are designed to help you get a full restful night of sleep. Some people have common sleep disorders, including insomnia; people who go to bed but cant fall asleep until much later; sleep problems related to shift work; and jet lag. Melatonin supplements, according to the NIH, appear safe when used in the short-term and promote a deep, uninterrupted sleep.

Melatonin is a natural hormone that plays a role in the sleep cycle and side effects are uncommon. Plus, it is non-habit forming and can help you wake up ready for the day, alert and refreshed.


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