Science Explains How Many Hours of Sleep You Need To Avoid Depression

Science Explains How Many Hours of Sleep You Need To Avoid Depression


Sleep, or a lack of it, is proven to be linked to clinical depression. Insomnia is widespread in the US and affects one out of every three adults at some point in their life.

It is more common in older adults (usually due to chronic physical illness) and women (who experience significant hormonal changes throughout their lives).

Insomnia is often a key characteristic in diagnosing depression. The inability to get to sleep or maintain it throughout the night is a critical contributing factor to the onset of depression.

When you feel sad or hopeless because of a personal situation, these feelings can cause insomnia as those thoughts spin around your head at a thousand miles an hour.

Those feelings can be so overwhelming and persistent that you cannot fall asleep or stay asleep. Sleep is a restorative state where your body and mind recharge from the events of the day.

If that state is interrupted, you will feel fatigued, which leads to a lack of exercise and a declining fitness level. This can cause a vicious cycle of inactivity and sleeplessness.

circadian rhythm

Here’s How Many Hours of Sleep You Need To Avoid Depression

Lack of sleep can also stem from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which interferes with sleep and prevents the person from experiencing restorative sleep. OSA interferes with the person’s airway and reduces oxygen supply to the body.

This causes the person to wake up often during the night. OSA links to the onset of depression. On the other hand, people with depression are five times more likely to have OSA symptoms.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression triggered when the days begin getting shorter during the fall season. Shorter days mean less sunlight. In turn, less sunshine can harm a person’s circadian rhythm.

The circadian rhythm is a biological process that keeps us on a regular schedule.

When something disrupts the rhythm,  it can cause insomnia and other sleep disorders, contributing to depression. Most people with SAD can eliminate symptoms with the onset of springtime and more sunshine.

Lack of slumber or the interruption of sleep can lead to depression or contribute to a depressive state lasting longer.



Improve Your Bedtime Routine by Doing These Things

So what are some things we can do before bedtime to increase the chance of falling asleep and decrease the chances of waking up during the night? If you suffer from OSA, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine can increase airflow to your lungs and prevent you from waking up during the night due to your airways being compromised.

Meditation or listening to soft music before bed can increase relaxation and focus your mind on pleasant or emotionally neutral topics.

Please make a list of things you need to do the next day to help soothe your mind and prevent it from obsessing over your to-do list. When you write something down, your mind tends to let go of those concerns and forget about them, thus helping you get to sleep and stay asleep.

Exercise can help work out tension and relieve stress and fatigue your body. Making sure you are tired at the end of the day can help you get to sleep. Furthermore, the endorphins released during exercise can stimulate your mood and lift your depression. Just limit activity to no later than a few hours before bed.

Yoga and deep abdominal breathing can lead to states of relaxation that will help you to get to sleep easier.

Limit the use of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine before you go to bed. These can act as stimulants and keep you from falling asleep quickly.

Keep your bedroom temperature cool, and take a warm shower right before bed so that your body will relax deeply as it cools.

The average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep per night to feel rested and prevent the symptoms of depression. Too little and you feel tired, irritable, and too much can lead to negative feelings and a deeper, longer-lasting depressive state.

Take care of your body, limit stimulating activities and foods right before bedtime, use techniques like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing to relax, and make sure your bedroom is set up to promote sleep.

sleep hygiene


Ten Other Ways That Sleep Benefits the Body

Besides avoiding depression, a good night of rest can provide these additional benefits.

1- Sleep reduces your chances of type 2 diabetes

While you sleep, your blood sugar drops. If you don’t get enough sleep in the deepest stages, it disrupts this process. It leaves you with too high of blood sugar. Your body has to work harder to respond to your cell’s needs. When you get deep sleep, you’re less likely to develop type2 diabetes.

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