Women almost always have a lot going on. Whether it's dealing with various life issues like motherhood, working hard for half the pay your male coworker gets or cringing over taxes on feminine hygiene products (taxes haven't been removed on this everywhere yet!), it turns out the amount of sleep you get can impact your chances of developing or worsening depression. This is especially true for young women who are trying to balance life being a college or university student.
Like we said: as if you don't have enough going on.
Fret not! Just because you find out that there are links between certain sleep issues and depression doesn't mean all hope is lost:
One night of short sleep may lead to less depression the following day, but chronic short sleep is tied to greater depression overall for young women, according to a new study.
'The overall message that poor quality and insufficient sleep lead to poor mood, which, in turn, worsens sleep was not surprising,' said lead author David A. Kalmbach of the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor.
More noteworthy, he added, was that these relationships were evident in healthy, young women, not just insomniacs or depressed people.
The researchers studied 171 female college students for two weeks, beginning with an in-person questionnaire assessment of anxiety and depression levels and continuing with daily self-reported measures of mood and anxiety. The women also reported their total sleep time, time to fall asleep, and ratings of sleep quality each night.
On average, the women slept for seven hours and 22 minutes each night, taking 21 minutes to fall asleep. Overall, they rated their sleep quality 'fairly good.'
At the start of the study, a third of the women scored in the 'at risk' range for depression and 17 percent had clinically significant anxiety.
Women who averaged less sleep per night over the two-week period tended to report greater 'anhedonic' depression symptoms, or the inability to enjoy pleasurable things. But they also tended to report more of these symptoms the day after a night of particularly long sleep, as reported in Sleep Medicine.
One night of sleep deprivation may improve mood the following day. But unfortunately, 'therapeutic effects of a night of sleep deprivation are typically short-lasting, and because chronic sleep deprivation increases depression-risk, the therapeutic benefit of sleep deprivation on depression is modest at best,' Kalmbach said.
The important thing that you should do once you've identified a problem is figure out a way to fix it. It's possible you didn't know about this until someone told you, right? Now that you have the information it's your responsibility to do something about it.
If you think you may have a serious sleep disorder or suffer from depression you need to speak with your health care provider. The sooner you address the issue the faster you can manage it. Don't try to self-diagnose because, let's face it, Google is not a medical professional.
These people get paid the big bucks for a reason. Book an appointment and you'll begin your journey to sweet dreams.