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Insomnia: A Precursor To Depression

Recently, I've posted articles about some of the serious problems that can occur when your sleep is disrupted. Two new studies demonstrate insomnia isn't just a symptom or side effect of depression. Instead, this sleep disorder may precede it, making some patients more likely to become and remain mentally ill.

For a short while, scientists understood insomnia and depression were linked, but didn't really know which one caused the other, at least until the widespread use of toxic antidepressants that "cured" mood problems but not the lack of sleep.

By the numbers (from both studies that surveyed elderly patients):

  • Depressed patients with insomnia were nearly 11 times more likely to still be depressed at six months than those sleeping well.
  • Those same depressed insomniacs were 17 times more likely to be ill after a year.
  • Elderly patients with insomnia -- and no history of depression -- were six times more likely to experience an initial episode of depression than those without it.

At greatest risk for depression, according to researchers, were elderly women as well as those who suffer from middle insomnia, a disorder that wakes up patients frequently throughout the night, although they eventually go back to sleep.

That said, a lack of sleep is one of the easiest conditions to treat naturally and safely. Try some of these proven methods for doing just that:

You can discover many more techniques in my free Guide To A Good Night's Sleep.

Science Blog June 21, 2005

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