Health & Wellness

Poor Sleep and Depression Linked

Treating insomnia may help patients beat depression

By Wendy Haaf


Adults 60 or older who have major depression may be far less likely to see their condition improve if they experience persistent or worsening sleep problems, according to the results of a study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The study, published in the journal Sleep, used data collected between 1999 and 2001 for a sleep and mental health study involving almost 600 people 60 or older—all of whom had depression (two-thirds with major depression and one-third with minor) at the trial’s outset. Researchers looked at the relationship between insomnia symptoms and depression one year later.

The incidence of diagnosed major depression at the one-year mark was 28.6 times higher among those who experienced worsening insomnia symptoms (difficulties falling and staying asleep) than among subjects whose sleep improved. The findings suggest that taking steps to address sleep problems may help keep major depression at bay, or even improve it.

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