… and even an hour of missed sleep (consistently) could drastically increase your odds for depression, hopelessness, restlessness and nervousness.  So how much is an optimal amount of sleep?  We should all be getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night, as this has been proven to be an optimal sleep range.  But in a new survey just released, even an hour less than optimal sleep led to significantly higher rates of depression and anxiety symptoms.  And consistently getting 5 or less hours a night raised the odds to nearly 4 times normal rates for these psychological symptoms.

In the past year, I find myself asking patients about sleep more often than ever before.  I find many (if not most!) patients express either poor quality of sleep or difficulty logging the required hours frequently.  And I would certainly say that symptoms of depression, hopelessness and nervousness are on the rise in general.  So to see a direct link between even a mild amount of missed sleep and increased adverse mood symptoms, definitely caught my attention.  I wonder if perhaps in our current culture, that we might even brag on our ability to get by with less sleep… right up until we seek medical attention for depression and anxiety.

So this intriguing survey found that incorporating even 1 additional hour of sleep had tremendous benefits to lower odds for depression, hopelessness, restlessness or nervousness.  Even sleeping an hour more than the 7-9 hours optimal amount, continued to lower risk.  One extra hour for those with even mildly insufficient sleep, significantly lowered the odds of these symptoms, (a result that would like compound with even greater than 1 hour added sleep).  So perhaps before we reach for anxiety medications, stimulants and others to treat these symptoms, it may be a good time to assess our sleep and aim for 1 extra hour a day.  It could make a world of difference!

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