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Sleep problems, depression linked in young women

For women under age 30, having trouble sleeping correlates strongly with a risk for depression. [Source: Adobe Stock]

Depression in women is becoming increasingly common. Statistics now show that one in every four women is likely to have at least one episode of major depression at some point in her life. In women under age 30, a major contributor to these rising rates of depression is poor or disturbed sleep, the CDC recently reported.

Sleep disorders and chronic sleep deprivation are already known to be significant problems for younger adults; prior research has shown that up to 70% of those between 19 and 29 report not getting enough sleep to function properly, defined as between 7 and 9 hours of sleep on most nights. Although studies have looked at the relationship between depression and sleep disorders before, few have examined its impact specifically among younger women. 

Researchers from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland used eight years of data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Survey [NHANES] to estimate the scope of this problem. They found that of nearly 1,800 women under 30, about 20% reported trouble sleeping in the recent past. That subgroup also had nearly four times the risk of suffering from major depression. 

The study concluded that screening younger women for sleep disorders, and helping them get effective treatment, could lead to improvements in both their overall well-being and reduced rates of depression.

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