Modern-day rhythm is alert. Technology moves fast, jobs move fast, personal lives move fast, it’s not exactly easy to get the proverbial eight hours of sleep per night, and it can make us tired during daytime hours. But a recent study shows that if you’re not a member of the fairer sex you might be in trouble.
Researchers at the University of Adelaide and the Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health have found that sleep problems are not just caused by disorders such as depression or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), but that those disorders can also cause sleep problems to appear, stressing the interchangeability between them.
For their study, researchers looked at roughly 2.000 Australian men who were between the ages of 35 and 83, and analyzed their levels of sleepiness.
They found that the participants who expressed excessive daytime sleepiness were 10 percent more likely to be depressed than those who didn’t exhibit signs of excessive sleepiness during daytime hours.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) was the main concern. It’s a condition where not enough oxygen gets through to the brain, causing the person affected to undergo a breathing blockage through the throat and / or nasal passages while sleeping, which in turn interrupts their sleep.
When the study began, none of the participants had been diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea, or any other sleep disorder.
But by the end of the study, 856 of the men who had participated had been found as suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, and they were found to be 2.1 times more likely to suffer from depression than those who had not been found vulnerable to the disorder.
When the researchers compared men with healthy sleeping patterns to men who had been diagnosed with both severe sleep apnea and excessive daytime sleepiness, it turned out that the ones in the later category were 4.2 times more likely to also suffer from depression.
When the researchers compared men who suffered from both severe sleep apnea and excessive daytime sleepiness to men who only suffered from one of the diseases, they found that the ones suffering from both were 3 to 5 times more likely to be depressed than the men who only suffered from one of the two conditions.
As a measure of control, the participants were tested twice for depression. Once during the initial study and once five years after the study had ended. The approach allowed scientists to test whether or not sleep problems could be linked to a recent diagnosis of depression.
They concluded that the men who had been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea during the study, were 2.9 times more likely to end up suffering from depression in the five year gap.
Dr. Carol Lang, postdoctoral research in the University of Adelaide’s Department of Medicine, explained that men are in more danger than women of suffering from such diseases because “men are less likely to seek, and more likely to drop out of, treatment for their depression and are four times more likely to die from suicide attempts than females”.
She admits that depression is a very serious public health concern even in modern times and that a lot remains unknown about how to effectively treat it in men.
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