One of the features of clinical depression is a sleep disturbance. Often, people with depression wake up in the middle of the night or early in the morning and are unable to fall back to sleep. Sometimes they sleep excessively and nap during the day.
A study indicates that too much or too little sleep can activate genes that may trigger depression. Dr. Nathaniel Watson and his associates from the University of Washington Medicine Sleep Center in Seattle reported their findings in the February 2014 issue of the journal Sleep.
In the study, they found that people who slept in the normal range each night (about seven to nine hours), showed minimal genetic influence on depression.
However, those who averaged excessive amounts of sleep (10 hours or more) or didn’t get enough sleep (five hours or less) experienced a significant genetic effect on depression.
The results suggest that getting a good night’s sleep may be an important way to avoid developing clinical depression.
People who have trouble falling asleep at night can try simple measures to help beat insomnia, like increasing daytime physical activity, avoiding naps, and limiting liquids prior to bedtime. Meditation or relaxation exercises can help some people settle down as well.
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