Consistently sleeping less than five hours each night could increase the risk of developing depressive symptoms, according to a genetic study led by researchers at the University College London (UCL).
The results are published in the journal Translational Psychiatry and the study analyzed data from people with a average age 65 years: Little sleep is associated with the appearance of depressive symptoms.
Historically, poor sleep has been considered a side effect of poor mental health, but this research found that the link between sleep and mental illness is more complex, says a statement from UCL.
“We have this chicken-and-egg scenario between suboptimal sleep duration and depression (…). Using genetic susceptibility to the disease, we determined that sleep is likely to precede depressive symptoms, rather than the other way around.” “he points out Odessa S. Hamilton, author of the work.
The researchers used genetic and health data of 7,146 people recruited into the ELSA Longitudinal Aging Study, a nationally representative population-based report in England.