Bad Mood, Depression… Why is Sleep So Important?

by Shamsul
Quality Sleep
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Bad Mood, Depression… Why is Sleep So Important?

Lack of sleep can amplify pre-existing mood and anxiety disorders by increasing emotional lability, irritability and fatigue.

Mental Health: Why is Sleep So Important?


Sleep regularity, “an underestimated risk factor” for depression
Lack of sleep increases the risk of dementia
Poor quality sleep affects multiple parts of the brain
Lack of sleep: performance and attention deficits present for more than a week
What advice is for finding good sleep hygiene?

Adopting irregular sleep schedules, ie, getting up and going to bed at different times every day, is not important. This bad habit promotes a regular bad mood and even a risk of depression. A few tips can help us get back to good sleep and improve our mental health.

Sleep Regularity: “An Underestimated Risk Factor” for Depression

Many studies have already shown that the evolution of lifestyles and technologies has a harmful impact on sleep. Having irregular bedtimes is one of those bad habits, and a new study published in February 2021 in NPJ Digital Medicine confirms it.

Evening or got up very early in the morning. Researchers have found that even when it comes to their mood the next day, people whose waking times vary from day to day can end up as moody as those who stayed up late the night before. The study used data from direct measurements of sleep and mood of more than 2,500 early-career physicians over a year, interns, subject to long days and irregular work schedules.

Result: Those whose devices showed that they had variable sleep patterns were more likely to score higher on depression symptom questionnaires and to have lower daily mood ratings. For the researchers, these results add to what the scientific community already knows about the association between sleep, everyday mood, and the long-term risk of developing depression. “These results highlight sleeping regularity as an underestimated factor to target in depression and well-being,” underlines the scientific team.


Lack of Sleep Increases the Risk of Dementia

Sleep and health are inextricably linked. Thanks to him, the body recovers physically and mentally, participating in memory and learning and properly functioning metabolism and immunity. Conversely, lack of sleep increases the risk of depression, diabetes or obesity. Some studies have also mentioned a risk of impaired cognitive abilities, highlighting a link between sleep and the ability to evacuate toxins from brain tissue. A hypothesis that researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital wanted to explore with the elderly in a study published in February 2021 in the journal Aging.

Their study evokes a risk of dementia multiplied by two in participants who declared less than five hours of sleep per night compared to those who said seven to eight hours per night. The researchers found a strong relationship between sleep disturbance and deficit and the onset of dementia over time. Thus, consistently taking 30 minutes or more to fall asleep was associated with a 45% higher risk of dementia. Regularly having trouble staying alert, taking naps, reporting poor sleeping quality, and getting five hours or less per night were also associated with an increased risk of death.

“Our findings shed light on a link between poor sleep and dementia risk and support the importance of efforts to help older adults get enough each night,” says Dr. Rebecca Robbins, lead author of the study. Who is interested in the link between the quality and quantity of sleep and the risk of dementia and death?

“These data add to the evidence that sleeping hours is important for brain health and underscore the need for more research into the effectiveness of improving sleeping hours and treating sleeping disorders on the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and of mortality. »


Poor Quality Sleep Affects Multiple Parts of the Brain

From a neurological perspective, poor or insufficient sleep can affect multiple parts of the brain, including the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for reasoning and decision-making, explains Hello Giggles.

It can also impact the amygdala, the area of ​​the brain responsible for the fear response, which triggers an increase in levels of the stress hormone cortisol—the result: of the triggering of a fight or fight response and a feeling of anxiety.

In patients with dementia, sleep is often impaired; however, growing evidence suggests that sleeping cycles, even before the onset of dementia, are also likely to contribute to the development of the disease. This was confirmed by Inserm researchers in a study published in April 2021 in Nature Communications. They analyzed data from the University College London Whitehall II study of the health of 7,959 Britons. Participants completed self-reported sleep duration six times between 1985 and 2015, which extracted data at ages 50, 60, and 70 for each participant.

The researchers were thus “able to study the link between the duration of sleep at different ages, its evolution between 50 and 70 years, and the risk of the onset of dementia over a period up to March 2019 “, notes the team. The results revealed a 20-40% higher risk of dementia in people who rest less than or equal to six hours a night at age 50 or 60. According to the researchers, “a 30% increased risk of dementia was also observed in people aged 50 to 70 years with consistently short duration. »

The scientific team makes it clear that these results do not establish a cause-and-effect relationship but do suggest the existence of a link between sleep duration and the risk of dementia. “Sleep in mid-life may play a role in brain health. It confirms the importance of good sleep hygiene for health. “, she concludes.


Lack of Sleep: Performance and Attention Deficits Present for More than a Week

Even after seven days of getting enough rest, following 10 days marked by a lack of sleep, we would not have fully recovered certain cognitive abilities. This is at least the finding of a new study published on September 1, 2021, in the journal Plos One.

The researchers recruited 23 healthy participants, who volunteered to undergo 10 days of sleep restriction, followed by 7 days of recovery. The 10 days of restriction consisted of a 30% reduction in needs, or 5.6 hours if one usually needs 8 hours per night.

Verdict: despite their seven days of recovery, the participants had not regained their performance before the sleep deprivation period. Only their reaction time had returned to the initial level before the study. Although these data need to be substantiated and confirmed, the authors believe that they provide new information regarding the recovery of cognitive abilities after chronic sleep deficit.

Too Much or Too Little Sleep is Bad for Cognitive Faculties.

Like various good things in life, sleep is best in moderation. This is the observation made by a team of researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Their study tracked the cognitive function of older adults over several years and analyzed it against levels of proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease and measures of brain activity during sleep. The data obtained appeared in Brain. Suggest that there is a middle-range time where cognitive performance was stable over time.

To distinguish between the distinct effects of sleep and Alzheimer’s disease on cognition, researchers used volunteers who agreed to undergo annual clinical and cognitive assessments, provide a blood sample to find out if they had the high-risk genetic variant (APOE4) as well as cerebrospinal fluid samples to measure Alzheimer’s protein levels. Finally, they agreed to sleep with an EEG monitor strapped to their foreheads for four to six nights to measure their brain activity during the sleeping process.

The researchers found a U-shaped relationship between sleep and cognitive decline. Overall, cognitive scores declined for groups that slept less than 4.5 hours or more than 6.5 hours per night, while scores remained stable for people whose sleeping hours were in the middle. from the beach. Thus those who slept little, but also those who slept a long time had a greater cognitive decline. This suggests that sleeping quality may be key, as opposed to just total hours of sleep.


What Advice to Find Good Sleep Hygiene?

Good quality sleep has a powerful effect on both body and mind. This is especially important if you have a mental health issue. Without quality sleeping hours, even the best treatment will be ineffective, insist the experts interviewed by Hello Giggles. Lack can amplify pre-existing mood and anxiety disorders by increasing emotional lability, irritability and fatigue. So what can we do to improve our nights?

Practice good sleep hygiene. Aim to get between 7 and 9 hours a night, avoid electronic devices before bed, as well as alcohol and caffeine.

To create an environment conducive to good quality rest, you can create a bedtime routine of taking a shower or bath and drinking herbal tea or reading a book.

Leave your smartphone switched off in another room, and do not hesitate to enjoy meditation or relaxation exercises before going to bed.

In case of insomnia, cognitive behavioral therapy has proven to be very effective.


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