A New Poll Says Depressive Symptoms Have A Strong Link With Poor Sleep Quality
There are a number of things that contribute to depressive symptoms, but we can quickly overlook physical factors and jump to emotional factors, without considering how lifestyle can contribute to the problem. Enter: poor sleep.
According to a newly published poll by the National Sleep Foundation, the link between poor sleep and depressive symptoms is stronger than we may realize. Here's what to know, plus what to do about it.
What a new poll reveals about the sleep & mental health connection.
Every year, the National Sleep Foundation puts out a poll, and this year, the focus was on mental health as it relates to sleep. To dig into the connection between the two, researchers surveyed just over 1,000 U.S. adults, asking questions about sleep duration, sleep quality, depressive symptoms, etc.
Among the key findings, it was revealed that over 90% of participants who engaged in good sleep hygiene reported good sleep health, as well as no significant depressive symptoms.
The same could not be said, however, for those not getting quality sleep. According to this poll, 65% of adults who aren't satisfied with their sleep report more depressive symptoms. And further, those who reported difficulty falling or staying asleep even a couple of times a week also had higher levels of depressive symptoms than those without sleep difficulties.
As vice president of research and scientific affairs at the National Sleep Foundation Joseph Dzierzewski, Ph.D., notes in a news release, "I'd say there's never been a more important time to think about the strong connection between our sleep and mental health," adding that good sleep hygiene can impact more than just your sleep each night.
What to do about it.
Whether you've been dealing with depressive symptoms or your sleep has been suffering lately, this research makes a strong case for upping your sleep game in the name of your mental health. (Not to mention all the other benefits of good sleep hygiene, too.)
So what actually is good sleep hygiene, you ask? For one thing, it starts with going to bed and waking up at the same time every day and making sure you're getting enough sleep so that you feel rested (which will be different for everyone but is likely around eight hours). Get natural light first thing in the morning to stimulate your circadian rhythm, and further, start dimming the lights and avoiding blue light when you're winding down in the evening.
On top of that, you'll want to stay away from things like caffeine and alcohol late in the day, large meals before bed, and even rigorous workouts in the evening, as these can all impact how easy it will be to fall asleep, and even your subsequent sleep quality.
And of course, for an extra helping hand, a quality sleep supplement with research-backed ingredients is an excellent thing to have in your sleep toolbox as well. Don't know where to start? Check out our top picks, all backed by a nutrition Ph.D.
If one night of bad sleep makes us grumpy, it's no wonder that consistently bad sleep would lead to depressive symptoms over time. If that sounds all too familiar, take this as a sign to prioritize good sleep hygiene each and every night.
RELATED: Our Definitive List Of The 9 Best Sleep Supplements & Aids*
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.