Young women who are sleep deprived are more likely to develop depression, claims Victoria University professor Dorothy Bruck.
According to depressioNET.org.au, around 85 per cent of people diagnosed with depression also suffer from insomnia. While this is a bit of a "chicken-and-egg" problem, it's evident that there is a correlation between the two conditions.
Professor Bruck, who presented a paper at last week's inaugural APS Health Psychology Conference in Cairns, researched this issue extensively from 2000 to 2009.
More than 9,500 young females took part in her study, from whom she collected data every three years. Ms Bruck's results show that these women's risk of depression increased dramatically the longer they were suffering from sleep deprivation.
This unnerving trend is, suggests Professor Bruck, an unnecessary one.
"We have good cognitive behavioural treatments now for people who have difficulty sleeping, which are effective in both the short and long term," Bruck says. She wants doctors to focus on treating the cause of the problem (sleep deprivation), rather than just the symptom (depression).
Putting a business health insurance policy in place could help workers who are suffering from either disorder get the help they need. HICA can offer you a free health insurance comparison to make sure you get the plan that's best for your business.
Health experts suggest that the average adult needs eight hours of sleep a night. There are many things an individual can do to help themselves get a good night's sleep. Here are just a few:
• Keep distracting objects, such as televisions, laptops and pets out of the bedroom.
• Implement a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
• In the hours leading up to bedtime, limit the amount of caffeine or alcohol consumed.