During my usual perusal of Sleep Review magazine online, I read about a new study finding that chronic insomnia can actually increase the risk of developing anxiety disorders and depression. (This has been well-covered by mainstream media as well.). These findings don't surprise me in the least.
But what’s interesting about this new study is that it tried to decipher which actually happens first—the insomnia or the anxiety and depression. It’s the old chicken versus egg puzzle a question much more difficult to answer. And what they found is that insomnia could be a precursor to mental disorders. The researchers are careful, however, to say that this doesn’t mean insomnia causes either anxiety or depression, but that it could be a red flag. Good thing they added that.
It’s seems logical that if you’re not getting sound sleep on a routine basis, that your mood and mental state could take a hit. It also seems logical to say that anxiety and depression could make it difficult to sleep well. I think there’s a lot of “going both ways” here. One can certainly aggravate the other.
Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, and with more people getting diagnosed with anxiety and depression lately, you have to wonder: should focusing on getting high-quality sleep be part of the normal course of treatment? Drugs and antidepressants aside, perhaps we should be paying more attention to our Zs for the sake of preventing and treating these mental disorders.
Score one for Sleep. Yet again.