A new link has been found between people who report feeling depressed often, with feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy, and sleep disorders that tend to manifest in incomplete sleep cycle and sleep that is simply not restorative enough for optimal brain and emotional function.
This really isn’t surprising if you know a little about how important sleep is to the human body. It is estimated that a person only needs to go about 48 hours without any sleep before their mind begins to completely shut down and they experience psychosis and delusion.
Sleep deprivation studies have shown devastating effects on the human brain. Not only that, on the emotion center of the brain. People do not have as solid of a control over their emotions or their mood when they are deprived of a good nights sleep. I can see this even in myself.
If I’ve had a particularly bad night of sleep, I tend to be overly emotional and I also tend to get angry too easily. I also cannot function cognitively as well – it’s like an induced form of ADD for me where I can’t focus on one thing very long without copious amounts of stimulants like coffee and tea.
The link between sleep disorders and depression was found to be even more consistent in women than it was in men. The reason for this is not known. Women do tend to at least report depression more often than men, so maybe it’s simply that more women than men tend to suffer from depression and related issues than men do.
There is also the hormonal aspect. I can tell you that there are certain points in my cycle where I cannot get a good nights sleep to save myself. It’s almost like I have so much pent up anxiety that my sleep just won’t come in complete waves.
Estrogen levels can definitely impact your sleep as well as your mood, so it is no surprise. Also, again taking an observation from my own life, my husband tends to fall asleep like a baby every night almost as soon as his head hits the pillow. I on the other hand, take a while to fall asleep and tend to have bouts of insomnia much more than my husband does.
Maybe us women are so goal oriented and such worriers that we can’t slow down enough to get the right kind of sleep. Maybe we should take it easy on ourselves!