Sleep carries immense importance in the optimal functioning of human brain because it is concerned with removing the memory clutter and unplugging ongoing mental processes for some time. This is why we feel refreshed after having a sound sleep. When individual acquires sleep less than 6 hours per night, it disrupts his mental functioning adversely and consequently various mental health issues are originated from it. This study is aimed at exploring the effects of sleep deprivation regarding the onset of depression in college students. Literature review will be presented to make the effects of sleep deprivation clearer based on the scientific findings.
A study (Sullivan, & Ordiah, 2018) attempted to highlight the impacts of sleep deprivation on the depression and anxiety of individuals. This study utilizes cross-sectional survey design and suggested that increased sleeping hours result in alleviated odds of the feelings of nervousness, sadness, hopelessness and emotional stress whereas the effects of sleep deprivation counter the above mentioned trend so gravely. Individuals with less than six sleeping hours reported increased levels of depression, anxiety, feelings of restlessness and inattention. Hence, sleep deprivation affects our mental process adversely.
Another literature study (Waite et. al., 2016) highlighted the significance of sleep for improving depressive and psychotic symptoms of individuals. It was an experimental study in which selected participants (suffering from depressive and psychotic disorders) underwent therapy aimed at enhancing their time and quality sleep. Results of this study propounded that patients felt much better after having a better sleep and their depression symptoms started fading away. Due to these reasons, they reported better daily activities, attention and increased interest in socialization. Having nightmares, depression, anxiety, jet lags and insomnia all are linked with sleep deficiency. This study suggested that individuals suffering from mental illness must focus more on having quality sleep regularly.
A survey study (Sheaves et. al., 2016) attempted to explore the potential links between insomnia, nightmares and chronotypes and the acquisition of mental illness in students. Students were defined in clusters based on the severity of their mental illness. Participants were selected based on their sleeping difficulties i.e., insomnia, nightmare and mental illness i.e., depression and anxiety. It was found that individuals suffering from sleeping difficulties had more prevalence of depression and anxiety as compared to the individuals with less troubled sleeping issues. This study suggests that regular and quality sleep is irrefutably significant in eliminating the depressive symptoms and in turn enhancing their academic performance.
Another study (Wolf & Rosenstock, 2017) investigated the correlation between inadequacy of sleep and low level of exercise and burnout and depression in medical students. This study propounded the most valued notion about the potency of sleep as a compelling determinant of academic performance and mental stability of students. This study revealed that sleeping hours of the students are negatively correlated with the anxiety, depression and burnout.
A research study (Dobmeier et. al., 2011) aimed to evaluate and analyze the risk factors, signs and symptoms associated with particular sleep disorder i.e., sleep apnea in students. Based on the study findings, it was suggested that colleges must make active attempts to raise awareness in students regarding significance of sleep in stabilizing and improving the mental health of students. It might be proven fruitful for reducing overall psychological pressure and anxiety.
Another survey study (Choueiry et. al., 2016) was aimed at exploring the prevalence of sleep disorders and clinical insomnia in students. Research findings indicated that approximately 10% students were suffering from clinical insomnia whereas 27% students had absent insomnia symptoms. This study proposed that sleep deprivation has now become a global issue and suggested that sleep deprivation is associated to a host of mental issues and emotional problems. Sleep disorder affects the functioning of neurons in receiving, processing and transmitting information which gives rise to depression, anxiety and academic problems in students. This situation in turn affects their academic development as well.
Lee & Suh (2018) studied the mediating effects of depression and anxiety on the nightmare and night eating syndrome relationship in students. Moreover, besides determining the link between these factors, their severity levels were also compared. The findings revealed that anxiety gives rise to nightmare distress and night eating which leads the individual to develop insomnia and depression in long run. For the person suffering from nightmares, anxiety is irrefutably a mediating factor which is associated with the impulsive behavior strongly. Thus, mental illness can be cured by reducing the instances of nightmare in certain individuals.
Li et. al., (2018) examined the mediated role of insomnia on the relationship between depression and anxiety. Findings of this study suggested that insomnia is a strong contributor of depression and anxiety among adolescents. However, they could not find any significant relationship between required sleeping hours and depression and anxiety. Moreover, they suggested that when anxiety is coupled with prolonged insomnia, the outcome is manifested in terms of depression that gives rise to multifaceted nature of behavioral ramifications and impaired personal, social and academic functioning.
The study that I would undertake to explore the relationship and effects of sleep deprivation on the onset of depression in students would follow survey design in which Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) will be used as a screening tool of depression along with the estimation of its severity level. Sleep deprivation will be specified as the sleep less than 6 hours from last two months. Two groups will be selected i.e., one with the sleep deprivation whereas the other with normal sleeping hours. Beck depression inventory will be applied on these students; their scores would be obtained and analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) through running independent sample t-test and comparing the mean differences of depression scores in two groups. This study would contribute to the existing knowledge about sleep deprivation and depression in school students that in turn affects their academic performance to a great degree.
Sheaves, B., Porcheret, K., Tsanas, A., Espie, C. A., Foster, R. G., Freeman, D., & Goodwin, G. M. (2016). Insomnia, nightmares, and chronotype as markers of risk for severe mental illness: results from a student population. Sleep, 39(1), 173-181.
Waite, F., Evans, N., Myers, E., Startup, H., Lister, R., Harvey, A. G., & Freeman, D. (2016). The patient experience of sleep problems and their treatment in the context of current delusions and hallucinations. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 89(2), 181-193.
Wolf, M. R., & Rosenstock, J. B. (2017). Inadequate sleep and exercise associated with burnout and depression among medical students. Academic psychiatry, 41(2), 174-179
Dobmeier, R. J., Hernandez, T. J., Barrell, R. J., Burke, D. J., Hanna, C. J., Luce, D. J., & Siclare, M. (2011). Student knowledge of signs, risk factors, and resources for depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and other mental health problems on campus. New York Journal of Student Affairs, 11(1), 103-122.
Choueiry, N., Salamoun, T., Jabbour, H., El Osta, N., Hajj, A., & Khabbaz, L. R. (2016). Insomnia and relationship with anxiety in university students: a cross-sectional designed study. PloS one, 11(2), e0149643.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Lee, J., & Suh, S. (2018). The Mediating Effect of Anxiety in the Relationship between Nightmares and Night Eating Syndrome in Female Undergraduate Students. Sleep Medicine Research, 104-109.
Li, Y. I., Starr, L. R., & Wray‐Lake, L. (2018). Insomnia mediates the longitudinal relationship between anxiety and depressive symptoms in a nationally representative sample of adolescents. Depression and anxiety, 35(6), 583-591.
Sullivan, K., & Ordiah, C. (2018). Association of mildly insufficient sleep with symptoms of anxiety and depression. Neurology, Psychiatry and Brain Research, 30, 1-4.
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