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“Our findings underline the importance of sleep health in treating depression as the nation battles the current mental health crisis,” investigators write.
An investigation included in SLEEP 2023 meeting abstracts confirmed strong associations between depression and sleep disturbance. Previous research has established a bidirectional relationship between depression and sleep health.1
However, the specific aspects of sleep health linked with depression remain unclear, according to the current study. The results revealed a significant relationship between depression and difficulty staying asleep, difficulty falling asleep, feeling unrested, as well as both short and long sleep durations.
“Our research is among the first to confirm strong associations between depression and several dimensions of sleep in the US general population during US COVID-19 pandemic,” investigators wrote. “Our findings underline the importance of sleep health in treating depression as the nation battles the current mental health crisis.”
Maurice Chery, PhD, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and a team of investigators analyzed data from the 2020 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) to evaluate the relationship between depression and multiple sleep health dimensions, focusing on sleep duration and insomnia symptoms among adults in the US from January-December 2020.
Binary logistic regression models were employed to examine the association between self-reported diagnosis of depression and insomnia variables in a representative sample of 31,568 adults.
On average, the age of participants was 53.50 (SD, 18.04) years, with women comprising 54% of the study population. When compared with men who reported depression symptoms (32.49%), women in the sample were found to be twice (67.51%) as likely to report symptoms (P < 0.001).
The binary logistic regression analysis revealed that participants with symptoms of depression had significantly higher odds of experiencing difficulty staying asleep (OR, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.43 to 1.74, P < 0.0001).
Those with depressive symptoms also displayed significantly increased chances of experiencing difficulty falling asleep (OR, 1.46; 95% CI: 1.30 to 1.62, P < 0.0001), and feeling unrested (OR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.50 to 1.93, P < 0.0001).
Additionally, the team performed a multinomial regression analysis to assess the relationship between symptoms of depression and sleep duration, with adjustments made for various sociodemographic factors including age, sex, and marital status; health risk behaviors including smoking and alcohol use status; race/ethnicity; general health condition.
The study reported this analysis indicated participants with symptoms of depression had elevated odds of both short sleep (≤ 6 hours) (OR, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.0 to 1.21, P = 0.0424) and long sleep (> 9 hours) (OR, 1.72; 95% CI, 1.50 to 2.0, P < 0.0001).
It was noted that further research and interventions focusing on sleep improvement may help alleviate the burden of depression among individuals.
In light of the current mental health crisis in the US, investigators emphasized the valuable insights these data offer into the bidirectional relationship of depression and various sleep health dimensions in adults during the COVID-19 pandemic, which further underscores the significance of sleep health in the treatment of depression.