Experts recommend that adults get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night in order to maintain mental acuity and a well-rested physical presence throughout the day. But new research underscores the importance of this information, by demonstrating how varying from those recommendations can negatively impact mental health. The findings show that people who slept between six and nine hours each night reported fewer symptoms of depression and a better quality of life than those who slept for a longer or shorter duration. Even among those respondents who claimed to be in excellent health, diverging from the recommended amount of sleep resulted in increased depressive symptoms and lower scores for quality of life.
“These results are important because they provide more information about the importance of getting enough sleep, which is usually six to nine hours per night,” said principal investigator Dr. Charles Bae, neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center in Ohio. “People may already expect that their quality of life could be decreased when they do not get enough sleep, but they may not realize that sleeping too much can also have a negative impact.” The researchers looked at data from over 10,000 patients with an average age of 52 years. They implemented the EQ-5D questionnaire to determine the participants’ quality of life and they assessed depression by using the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire. The researchers categorized long sleep as exceeding nine hours, and short sleep as being fewer than six hours. “It was surprising to see that sleeping less than six hours and more than nine hours is associated with a similar decrease in quality of life and increase in depressive symptoms,” said Bae. “I thought that there would be changes in quality of life and degree of depressive symptoms for short and long sleepers, but did not expect that those changes would be similar in both groups.”
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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