Depression Causes
– Sleep Deprivation

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Depression Causes – Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation is one of the major depression causes.

In fact, Stephen S. Ilardi, PhD., associate professor of clinical psychology at the University of Kanas, considers disrupted sleep (that results in sleep loss) as one of the most potent triggers of depression. He noted that before the onset of depression, as many as 4 out of 5 people suffered from some form of sleep disturbance. [1]


Causes of sleep deprivation

As one of the depression causes, sleep deprivation can be brought about by chronic sleep disorders (e.g. severe insomnia and sleep apnea) that lead to disrupted sleep.

In turn, some of the causes of sleep disorders [2] include:

  • abnormalities in physiological systems (e.g. brain and nervous system, cardiovascular system, metabolic functions, immune system)

  • physical problems including pain (e.g. backache) and discomfort can interfere with the ability to fall asleep or stay asleep
  • stress (number 1 cause of short-term sleeping difficulties, which can develop into chronic sleep disorders if not properly managed from the start)
  • exposure to stimulants (e.g. caffeine) or stimulating activities (e.g. exercise, work or other mentally intense activities) before or after getting into bed
  • following an irregular bedtime and waking up schedule
  • traveling across several time zones, which can upset your biological circadian rhythms
  • sleep environment that is not conducive for sleep (e.g. too hot or cold, too noisy or too bright, uncomfortable bed)
  • some medication (e.g. decongestants, steroids, antidepressants, some medication for high blood pressure and asthma) can cause sleeping difficulties as a side effect
  • aging – according to Van Dongen and Dinges, contrary to common myth, the need for sleep does not decline with age but the ability to sleep for 6 to 8 hours at one time may be reduced.
  • for women, pregnancy and hormonal shifts and its accompanying hot flashes can also affect sleep

Besides sleep disorders, sleep deprivation can also be a result of simply not setting aside adequate time for sleep [1], brought about by our modern lifestyle where we have to be constantly on the go to remain competitive.

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