Irregular sleep may lead to bad moods and depression, study
A study shows that an irregular sleep schedule may increase the risk of depression and bad moods as much as getting fewer hours of sleep or staying up late.
The Nature Partner Journal study conducted by the University of Michigan’s Neuroscience Institute looked at the habits of over 2 000 first year medical residents and found that variability in sleep habits significantly affected their mood and depression no matter how many hours they slept.
According to the US’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of depressive disorder in June last year was 24.3 percent, roughly four times higher than the prior year. Meanwhile, many at-home employees are working into the evenings, impacting on sleep, while many of the study subjects are suffering from “coronasomnia” (disrupted sleep due to stress from Coronavirus).
Study author and lead researcher Yu Fang said: “Keeping a regular sleep schedule is as important as, if not more important than, having enough sleep time for one’s mental health.”
Health expert Vanessa Ascencao said that research shows that nearly half of adults report regular sleep difficulties and that sleep deprivation is now considered to be a global pandemic with its negative impact seriously underestimated.
“Good, restorative sleep is essential for physical and mental wellbeing and supports the immune, nervous, skeletal and muscular systems which all impact on mood, memory and cognitive function,” said Ascencao.
Ascencao recommends a daily sleep schedule, practicing a pre-bed routine, disconnecting from screens two hours before bed, removing stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, exercising regularly, following a nutritious diet and managing stress.
In addition, she recommends trying natural remedies such as Bach Rescue Night which contains White Chestnut essence to help calm a busy mind and high quality supplements such as Felix, which contains the potent saffron extract, Affron. A study shows that Affron has beneficial sleep-inducing effects and that it may help to support sleep quality and induce restorative sleep even at low doses.