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Correlation between Sleep and Mental health problems

By Suresh Kumar Mukhiya
Published in My Philosophy
January 05, 2019
3 min read
Correlation between Sleep and Mental health problems

Sleep is one of the most important daily activities for people. While some views sleeping as luxury and often discards or are unaware of the benefits of sleeping, some of the people are very sensitive to keeping their sleeping pattern normal and within the recommended threshold.

When people are diagnosed with mental health issues, it is not only imbalanced in the chemical composition of the body, there can be several other parameters that must be taken into account. Sleep is one of them. Various studies have been done that confirms, depression has a very close correlation with mental health problems. Some of the facts are discovered here and these are taken from the online resources of healthysleep.com.

Risk Assessment

Determining the risks posed by insufficient sleep is complicated. Medical conditions are slow to develop and have multiple risk factors connected to them. What we do know is that sleeping fewer than about eight hours per night on a regular basis seems to increase the risk of developing a number of medical conditions. The study results below show that reducing sleep by just two or three hours per night can have dramatic health consequences.

Obesity—Several studies have linked insufficient sleep and weight gain. For example, one study found that people who slept fewer than six hours per night on a regular basis were much more likely to have excess body weight, while people who slept an average of eight hours per night had the lowest relative body fat of the study group.1 Another study found that babies who are “short sleepers” are much more likely to develop obesity later in childhood than those who sleep the recommended amount.2 Diabetes—Studies have shown that people who reported sleeping fewer than five hours per night had a greatly increased risk of having or developing type 2 diabetes.3,4Fortunately, studies have also found that improved sleep can positively influence blood sugar control and reduce the effects of type 2 diabetes.5 Cardiovascular disease and hypertension—A recent study found that even modestly reduced sleep (six to seven hours per night) was associated with a greatly increased the risk of coronary artery calcification, a predictor of future myocardial infarction (heart attack) and death due to heart disease.6 There is also growing evidence of a connection between sleep loss caused by obstructive sleep apnea and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease, and irregular heartbeat.7 Immune function—Interactions between sleep and the immune system have been well documented. Sleep deprivation increases the levels of many inflammatory mediators, and infections, in turn, affect the amount and patterns of sleep.8 While scientists are just beginning to understand these interactions, early work suggests that sleep deprivation may decrease the ability to resist infection (see The Common Cold, below). Common Cold – In a recent study, people who averaged less than seven hours of sleep a night were about three times more likely to develop cold symptoms than study volunteers who got eight or more hours of sleep when exposed to the cold-causing rhinovirus. In addition, those individuals who got better quality sleep were the least likely to come down with a cold. 9 Not surprisingly, these potential adverse health effects can add up to increased health care costs and decreased productivity. More importantly, insufficient sleep can ultimately affect life expectancy and day-to-day well-being. An analysis of data from three separate studies suggests that sleeping five or fewer hours per night may increase mortality risk by as much as 15 percent.10


  1. Kohatsu ND, et al. Sleep Duration and Body Mass Index in a Rural Population, Archives of Internal Medicine. 2006 Sep 18; 166(16): 1701.

  2. Taveras EM, et al. Short Sleep Duration in Infancy and Risk of Childhood Overweight, Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. 2008 Apr; 162(4): 305.

  3. Knutson KL, et al. Role of Sleep Duration and Quality in the Risk and Severity of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Archives of Internal Medicine. 2006 Sep 18; 166(16):1768.

  4. Gottlieb DJ, et al. Association of Sleep Time with Diabetes Mellitus and Impaired Glucose Tolerance, Archives of Internal Medicine. 2005 Apr 25; 165(8): 863.

  5. Nilsson PM, et al. Incidence of Diabetes in Middle-Aged Men Is Related to Sleep Disturbances, Diabetes Care. 2004; 27(10): 2464.

  6. King, CR et al. Short Sleep Duration and Incident Coronary Artery Calcification, JAMA, 2008: 300(24): 2859-2866.

  7. Kasasbeh E, et al. Inflammatory Aspects of Sleep Apnea and Their Cardiovascular Consequences, South Med J. 2006 Jan; 99(1): 58-67.

  8. Opp, MR, et al. Neural-Immune Interactions in the Regulation of Sleep, Front Biosci. 2003 May 1;8:d768-79.

  9. Cohen S, et al. Sleep Habits and Susceptibility to the Common Cold, Arch of Intern Med. 2009 Jan 12; 169 (1):62-67.

  10. Colten HR and Altevogt BM, eds. Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. Board on Health Sciences Policy; National Academies Press. 2006.

  11. Spiegel K, et al. Brief Communication: Sleep Curtailment in Healthy Young Men Is Associated with Decreased Leptin Levels, Elevated Ghrelin Levels, and Increased Hunger and Appetite, Annals of Internal Medicine. 2004 Dec 7; 141(11): 846-850.

  12. Spiegel K, et al. Impact of Sleep Debt on Metabolic and Endocrine Function, Lancet. 1999 Oct 23: 354(9188): 1435-9.


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