We’ve highlighted a number of health risks associated with poor sleep, including depression. Now more data has surfaced to back up our claim.
The National Sleep Foundation has released new findings from its annual poll on American sleep habits, this year focusing on the connection between sleep and mental health. Their poll, which was focused on a sample from the general US adult population, found that American adults with good sleep were less likely to have significant depressive symptoms: more than 90% of adults polled who enjoy very good sleep health also reported an absence of elevated depressive symptoms.
Conversely, the poll revealed that almost seven in ten adults who are dissatisfied with their sleep experience mild or greater levels of depressive symptoms. And it doesn’t take much loss of sleep to have it happen: people with difficulties falling or staying asleep just two nights a week have higher levels of depressive symptoms than those without sleep difficulties. Additionally, 50% of all adults who sleep less than the NSF-recommended seven to nine hours experience mild or greater levels of depressive symptoms.
“One unique aspect of this year’s research was how we combined NSF’s multiple validated measures of the population’s sleep health with an established measure of depressive symptoms to examine the link between sleep health and depressive symptoms in the general population,” said Joseph Dzierzewski, PhD, Vice President of Research and Scientific Affairs at the National Sleep Foundation. “As a licensed clinician, I’d say there’s never been a more important time to think about the strong connection between our sleep and mental health.”
If you’re experiencing severe depression – in other words, if you believe you may be at risk of suicide – seek immediate help. Reach out to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988.
- NSF Poll Highlights Strong Link Between Sleep and Depressive Symptoms in US Population (National Sleep Foundation press release)
- A Good Night’s Sleep May Ward Off Depression (UPI)