Is poor sleep a cause for mental health problems?

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Here's surprising new research published recently in 2021. It shows that poor sleep can be the cause of mental health problems!

This is a new perspective. Until recently, medical science usually considered a person’s poor sleep to be a part of their mental health problem. Poor sleep was a symptom, caused by the mental health problem.

But this study considers that poor sleep can sometimes be the cause of a mental health problem, not just a symptom. 

That's extra significant because sleep and mental health problems are so widespread. Some reports show that almost a third of adults experience insomnia symptoms. And about 17% of adults have mental health difficulties of varying severity.  

In past years, many scientific studies did show a link between poor sleep and mental health problems. 

For example, people with insomnia are 10 times more likely to have symptoms of depression. And they’re 17 times more likely to have anxiety.

But this new research stands out because it highlights poor sleep as a possible cause of mental health problems. For some people, the best treatment for their mental health problem is to get better sleep!

And, importantly, this study is big. It combines results from 72 previous studies, with more than 8600 participants.

The researchers comment:

“There is growing evidence that sleep disturbances predict the development of mental health difficulties in the future.”

“Improving sleep has beneficial effects on the experience of mental health difficulties, regardless of the severity of those difficulties, or the presence of [other] health conditions.“

HINT  If you want to boost your mood or emotional life, be sure to give priority to your sleep. Avoid sleep procrastination. Take time for 7-9 hours of sleep every night. 


Improving sleep quality leads to better mental health: A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials 

Alexander J. Scott, et al. Sleep Med Rev. 2021 Dec;