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New Link Between Insomnia and Depression

November 25, 2013
Plain English Version

Which came first? The chicken or the egg? An answer to that question is in studies of insomnia and depression.  Scientists say that insomnia leads to depression. Not the other way around.

Depression is the most common form of mental stress. Finding a cause for some types of depression will help many people understand why they are feeling sad.

New findings on the link between insomnia and depression show that a limited amount of talk therapy may be effective. However it is important to stop insomnia before it begins.

What is insomnia? It is a month of chronic sleep loss leading to problems at work, at home and/or in relationships.

Typical sleep hygiene programs stress increased exercise, and limited use of alcohol and coffee. This approach is not a cure for insomnia.

How to avoid or reduce insomnia? Scientists say sleeping should not require special efforts. Easy “to do” suggestions include:

  • Have a regular wake-up time and a regular go-to-bed time
  • Don’t stay in bed while awake
  • Avoid eating, drinking, TV and other activities during the night
  • Do not nap during the day

Short-term talk-therapy sessions may also help reduce insomnia. In one study of patients with insomnia, 87 percent who had talk-sessions reported that their depression symptoms were reduced or disappeared.

Some people say that the ocean is the last frontier. Many scientists are now saying sleep is the new frontier.

Source: The New York Times

November 18, 2013

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