Does lack of sleep cause depression

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90,000 lack of sleep turns people into robots, and too much sleep makes life shorter than

Komsomolskaya Pravda

Health and Health

Anna Vn. It would seem, what could be easier - close your eyes and sleep. But in fact, most of us sleep incorrectly. Photo: Evgenia GUSEVA

On March 13, the entire planet celebrates World Sleep Day. We spend a third of our lives in the arms of Morpheus. It would seem, what could be easier - close your eyes and sleep. But in fact, most of us persist in sleeping the wrong way. Komsomolskaya Pravda asked Russia's leading somnologists five simple questions about sleep.


Sleep is a circadian process, that is, tied to the daily cycle of day and night. During it, the human body produces the hormone melatonin - and a special mode of physical and psychological recovery is activated.

“Melatonin is so permeable to cells that it even reaches the genome,” says Head of the Center for Sleep Medicine at the Medical Research and Education Center of Lomonosov Moscow State University, expert of the European Society for the Study of Sleep, cardiologist Alexander Kalinkin .

The dream has not been fully studied, but scientists are sure of one thing: we spend a third of our lives in the kingdom of Morpheus for a reason.

Three whales of a healthy sleep - darkness, coolness and silence. Photo: Alexander GLUZ

But the modern world does not favor sleep lovers. Electric lighting and gadgets, caffeinated drinks and tobacco smoking, the increased flow of information and the accelerated pace of life interfere with going to the sidelines.

– The very attitude towards sleep has changed: sleep less – work more! Kalinkin explains. - At one time it was even believed that sleep was for the lazy.

Over the past century, the average sleep duration has decreased from 8 to 6 hours per night, and even less in some metropolitan areas of the world. In Russia, 41 percent of people aged 20 to 35 tend to daytime sleep due to nighttime lack of sleep. Experts observe "chronic sleep deprivation of humanity"


The norm is different for everyone, but statements about 8 hours are no joke: the norm ranges from 6 to 9 hours of rest per day.

– Both reducing sleep to less than 6 hours and increasing it to more than 10 hours is harmful to health and reduces life expectancy, emphasizes Alexander Kalinkin. “At the same time, excessive sleep is much more harmful than lack of sleep.

Head of the sleep laboratory of the National Medical Research Center for Psychiatry and Neurology named after Bekhterev, psychotherapist of the highest category Alexander Polyakov warns that chronic lack of sleep and oversleeping can bring with it a whole bunch of consequences. Among them - anxiety, depression, overexcitation, headaches, vegetative attacks, memory and attention disorders, disorders in the digestive, cardiovascular and endocrine systems.

Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders. Photo: Valentin DRUZHININ

- It has been proven that lack of sleep leads to a deterioration in performance and creative activity: people become less creative and more robotic, Kalinkin continues. - And this affects the economy: the quality of sleep determines 1-2 percent of the state's GDP. In addition, 20 percent of road accidents are associated with falling asleep at the wheel. It is also known that deprivation ( reduction or complete deprivation. - Note ed. ) sleep negatively affects the activity of the genome. And that means society as a whole.

How to compensate for lack of sleep has not been figured out yet.


Melatonin is called the sleep hormone. But this is a mistake: in fact, melatonin is the hormone of the night. After all, it is produced only in the dark. The peak of its development occurs in the evenings and lasts until 02:00. That is why it is so important to sleep at night. The optimal time for sleep is from 23:00 to 7:00.

- It is better to fall asleep and wake up on different days, - notes Alexander Polyakov.

It is not forbidden to take a nap in the subway on the way to work or home after a hard day. Photo: Ivan MAKEEV

It takes up to 2 weeks for a person to establish a routine - for example, in a different time zone. In the summer, when the sun rises earlier, it's much easier to wake up earlier, it's natural. But without the need to shift the mode, experts do not advise.

Moreover, somnologists also do not recommend “sleeping off” on weekends and on vacation: it does more harm than good, because a temporary decrease in “sleep pressure” is replaced by a broken regimen.

– Dividing people into “owls” and “larks” is fair: there really is a genetic predisposition, adds Polyakov. – But it is often possible to rearrange the rhythm.


Lenin's thesis “Less is better” can also be attributed to sleep. In addition to the length of the night's rest, there is also the quality. Simple rules help to ensure it. The main one is darkness.

- Bright lighting in the evening and at night, light from gadgets before bedtime, when melatonin has already begun to be produced in the body, can lead to difficulty falling asleep, late awakening, metabolic disorders and increased blood pressure, warns Mikhail Bochkarev, Senior Researcher at the Somnology Laboratory of the Almazov National Medical Research Center .

- Any amount of light, even a glance at the burning screen of a smartphone, "extinguishes" the production of melatonin in the pineal gland, - Alexander Polyakov supports his colleague.

Hence the conclusion: no sleep under the TV and with no curtains on the windows.

Ideally, a person should get up not on an alarm clock, but because he had a good night's sleep. Photo: Mikhail FROLOV

By the way, the people of St. Petersburg, with their white nights - however, as well as the inhabitants of the Arctic - have a particularly difficult time. Some studies even study the negative impact of white nights on human health. Experiments show that excess light can cause obesity and even cancer.

– The length of our daylight hours ranges from 5 hours 53 minutes in winter to 18 hours 49 minutes in summer, Bochkarev explains. “But the confluence of seasonal changes in health is not obvious due to stable indoor temperatures and artificial lighting. However, seasonal shifts in the sleep-wake rhythm are the main reason for the increase in the number of insomniacs ( insomnia. - Approx. ed. ). The development of "winter depression" with spontaneous remission in spring and summer is also associated with seasonality. Unlike winter insomnia, "winter depression" is accompanied by an increase in sleep duration and increased appetite in winter, as well as insomnia, anxiety, decreased appetite and weight in summer.

The second rule of healthy sleep is air temperature. Ideal is 20-22 degrees. In case of sleep disorders, it is advised to sleep in a cool place, because "we fall asleep better in the cold." The bedroom should not be stuffy.

Seasonal shifts in the sleep-wake rhythm are the main reason for the increase in the number of people suffering from insomnia. Photo: Ekaterina MARTINOVICH

The third golden rule is silence: the bedroom should be as quiet as possible. True, there are deviations from this rule.

– Since going to bed is a reflex state, it is extremely important to observe the “ritual”, explains Polyakov. - If for some it is quiet music or listening to an audiobook, then although this is a bit of a violation, it can do more good than harm in helping the person fall asleep.

What is the best position to sleep in? Those who suffer from sleep apnea (short-term cessation of breathing) and are overweight and snore should not sleep on their backs. It is no coincidence that they say about sleep “go to the side”: the position on the side is considered the best. Lying on your stomach, on the contrary, is an unsuccessful decision, because intra-abdominal pressure increases. But recommendations regarding postures are conditional, because a person changes the position of the body several, or even several dozen times a night.

Constant drowsiness is a reason to see a doctor. Photo: Aleksey BULATOV

- Avoid heavy, spicy, sugary foods, as well as alcohol and smoking, less than 4 hours before bedtime. Chocolate and caffeinated drinks, tea and soda should be excluded 4-6 hours before bedtime, advises Bochkarev. - But a light snack (unsweetened yogurt, a small portion of low-fat cottage cheese, fruit) before bedtime is useful.

An evening visit to the gym will not help you fall asleep either: physical activity is not recommended later than 4-5 hours before bedtime. Not good for a night's rest and brain stress: disconnect from work and thoughts about the next deadline at least a couple of hours before bedtime.

“You shouldn't read or work at the computer in bed,” emphasizes Bochkarev. - The bed is only for sleep and intimacy.


There is also a recipe for good morning.

- It is advisable to wake up at the end of an hour and a half cycle, - says Polyakov. - If you go to bed at 23:00, then it is better to get up either at 05:00, or at 06:30, or at 08:00. Then you will be more alert than oversleeping for half an hour more.

Alexander Kalinkin does not recommend waking up every morning to an alarm clock, and leaving the "mechanical songbird" only for rare occasions. Awakening, the expert is sure, should be natural. If a person gets up only under an alarm clock or even wakes up despite it, this is a reason to review the regimen and contact a specialist.

Evening rituals that help you fall asleep can deviate a little from the rules. Photo: Oleg RUKAVITSYN

“Bright light in the morning when you wake up makes you wake up more alert, and fall asleep earlier in the evening,” adds Mikhail Bochkarev.

It is undesirable to jump out of bed abruptly. But light physical activity, an invigorating shower and a cup of coffee will not spoil the morning.


– There are more and more people with sleep disorders. At least in my practice, - Alexander Polyakov notes. - This is understandable: the level of stress increases, we are constantly awakened by artificial lighting, the amount of sleep is reduced. Anxiety and depressive disorders are on the rise.

More than 80 sleep disorders have been described to date. The most common are insomnia and sleep disturbances (apnea, snoring). Movement disorders such as "restless legs cider" are common. Attacks of fear in a dream, "syndrome of night food", sleepwalking are not rare.

Somnologists do not recommend "sleeping off" on weekends and holidays: it does more harm than good. Photo: Ekaterina MARTINOVICH

called "sleep inertia". Constant increased drowsiness also belongs to the category of disorders and is called "hypersomnia".

BTW: If you want, like da Vinci

Speaking of polyphasic sleep, the genius Leonardo da Vinci is cited as an example, who supposedly slept almost 2 hours a day, evenly breaking this time into 10-20 minutes. True, supporters of "savings" on sleep forget about another genius - Einstein, who measured out sleep as much as 10 hours.

- Polyphasic sleep is more of a disorder, - says Alexander Polyakov. - I am often asked how to sleep less so that more time is left "for life." But this modern trend is absolutely wrong. If only because a chronic restriction in sleep makes a person less effective.

A siesta should not last longer than 45 minutes. Photo: Andrey KARA

– Since a person’s sleep is tied to night time, polyphasic sleep can only be used in certain situations: for example, by the military in combat conditions, – Alexander Kalinkin adds . – But in no case can such a mode be recommended for permanent use.

But taking a nap in the subway on the way to work or home after a hard day is not forbidden. In Japanese offices, there are even special rooms where employees can sleep for 20-40 minutes.

- The main thing is that daytime sleep should not exceed 45 minutes, - emphasizes Mikhail Bochkarev.

THIS IS INTERESTING: What will dreams tell about?

According to scientists, as a rule, people have dreams every night, they just don't always remember them. An alarm clock that rang in the wrong phase and interrupted the rest in the middle of the cycle will help to “forget” the dream.

And by the time when dreams come, specialists have already learned to make diagnoses. Normal sleep with dreams is 20 percent of the total rest time, and they come to 80-90 minute. With clinical depression, the amount of sleep with dreams increases to 40 percent, and they come earlier - already 50-60 minutes after falling asleep.

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lack of sleep: the consequences - the article “Babysleep” about chronic lack of sleep and its consequences




adult sleep author of the article

The BabySleep Team

The BabySleep Team

Sleep Counselors, Doctors, Psychologists, Breastfeeding Counselors

Lack of sleep, or as it is popularly known, lack of sleep can make you irritable and slow your reactions. Something strange is happening with intimate life, memory, health, appearance, weight. Here are 10 dangerous effects that lack of sleep has on the body.

Child's crisis calendar

Lack of sleep leads to disasters

Lack of sleep played a significant role in the greatest disasters in history: the nuclear explosion at the Three Mild Island nuclear power plant in 1977, the massive oil spill from the Exxon Valdez tanker, the Chernobyl tragedy and others .

But first of all, lack of sleep is the cause of many car accidents. Drowsiness slows down the driver's reaction in the same way as drunk driving. Driver fatigue is responsible for 100,000 crashes and 1,500 road deaths per year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Most often, this problem occurs in people under 25 years of age.

Research shows that lack of sleep and poor sleep quality cause problems at work. Respondents noted that severe fatigue causes frequent accidents at work. The number of sick days after an accident increases.

Chronic sleep deprivation dulls attention

Sleep plays a vital role in our ability to think and learn. The negative effects of lack of sleep are the destruction of these cognitive processes. It reduces attention, vigilance, the ability to concentrate, reason and solve problems, assimilate new information.

During the night, sleep cycles affect memory retention. If you do not sleep enough, you will not be able to remember the knowledge gained during the day and process the accumulated experience for a long time.

Chronic sleep deprivation leads to serious health problems

Sleep disturbance and chronic sleep deprivation can cause such consequences as:

  • heart disease;
  • heart attack;
  • heart failure;
  • unstable heartbeat;
  • hypertension;
  • stroke;
  • diabetes.

It is estimated that 90% of people with insomnia (a disease characterized by difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep) experience a change in health.

Lack of sleep suppresses sexual desires

Somnologists say that sleep-deprived men and women lose their libido and lose interest in sex. This is due to exhaustion as a result of lack of sleep and increasing stress.

In men, sleep apnea - stopping breathing during sleep, leading to short-term awakenings - also suppresses sexual desire. A 2002 publication in the journal Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism states that many men with sleep apnea have low testosterone levels. In a study, nearly half of the men with severe disease had very low testosterone levels in their urine at night.

Insomnia leads to depression

Chronic sleep deprivation and sleep disorders can eventually lead to depression. A 2005 Sleep in America survey found that people diagnosed with depression and anxiety tend to get less than 6 hours of sleep a night.

Insomnia, the most common sleep disorder, most often leads to depression. The 2007 study involved 10,000 people. Respondents with insomnia were 5 times more likely to develop depression than those without the condition.

Insomnia is often the first sign of depression. Insomnia and depression affect each other. Lack of sleep exacerbates symptoms of depression, and depression interferes with sleep. But treating sleep disorders can help manage depression, and vice versa.

Lack of sleep ages the skin

Many people, after several sleepless nights, look at themselves in the mirror and see yellowed skin and swollen eyes - the consequences of lack of sleep. Chronic lack of sleep makes the skin dull, thinned, dark circles appear under the eyes.

When you don't get enough sleep, your body produces more cortisol, the stress hormone. In large amounts, cortisol breaks down collagen, which keeps skin smooth and supple.

Chronic lack of sleep also leads to a decrease in the production of growth hormone. In youth, this hormone promotes growth. As we age, it helps build muscle, plump the skin, and strengthen bones.

“It is during deep sleep—we call it delta sleep—growth hormone is released,” says sleep expert Dr. Phil German. “This is a normal tissue repair process after a grueling day.”

Lack of sleep affects memory

If you want to keep a good memory, sleep more.

In 2009, American and French scientists found that brain activity, which manifests itself in the form of special electroencephalographic waves - island wave oscillations - is responsible for the consolidation of memory. These waves reflect the transfer of learned information from the hippocampus to the neocortex (where it is stored in long-term memory) and occur predominantly during the stage of very deep sleep.

Lack of sleep contributes to weight gain

Lack of sleep increases hunger and may cause obesity. According to a 2004 study, people who sleep less than 6 hours a night are 30% more likely to be obese than those who sleep 7-9 hours.

A recent study focused on the relationship between sleep and appetite-regulating peptides. Ghrelin stimulates hunger, while leptin signals satiety to the brain and suppresses appetite. An association of insufficient sleep with a lack of leptin and an excess of ghrelin has been found.

Lack of sleep stimulates more than just appetite. The desire to eat high-calorie, high-carb foods increases. Research is currently underway to find out whether adequate sleep should be a mandatory part of weight loss programs.

Chronic lack of sleep increases the risk of death

British scientists in the Whitehall II Study studied how sleep habits affected the mortality of more than 10,000 British civil servants over a period of two decades. Results published in 2007 showed that people who slept 5–7 hours or less a night nearly doubled their risk of dying from any cause. In particular, lack of sleep increased the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

Chronic lack of sleep affects your judgment. Especially when it comes to sleep

Lack of sleep affects how we perceive events. It reduces our ability to think sensibly because we cannot assess situations correctly and act wisely.

People who lack sleep tend to underestimate its importance. In our rapidly changing world, the ability to sleep little has come to be seen as a virtue and a blessing.

Learn more