Free Press Journal

Poor sleep may increase depression risk


New York: Insomnia may increase the risk of depression by impairing the ability to access and leverage emotion regulation strategies — such as problem-solving skills and the ability to decrease negative emotions – effectively, new research has found.

“These results are important because they provide a plausible explanation for why and how sleep problems may contribute to depression, which are critical questions for prevention and intervention,” said lead study author Melanie Hom from the Florida State University in Tallahassee, US.

The research team analysed responses from 880 current and retired US firefighters between the ages of 18 and 82 years.

“Firefighters are typically faced with many demands, including difficult work schedules, and they often both witness and experience traumatic events,” Hom said.

The results showed that a high percentage of participants reported clinically significant insomnia symptoms (52.7 percent), depression symptoms (39.6 percent) and nightmare problems (19.2 percent).

“Our study findings suggest that firefighters with sleep difficulties are likely to experience greater struggles accessing strategies to regulate their emotions, especially when feeling upset. This, in turn, may lead to or worsen feelings of depression and low mood,” Hom explained.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.