Depression, Sleep Problems, and Gender
Sleep problems are as prevalent as depression, and they negatively affect the quality of life. Most of the time, these two conditions are correlated or seen simultaneously.
Epidemiology is a branch of medical science that specifies what diseases vary under which conditions in a society. The studies conducted in the field of epidemiology, put forward that women experience more sleep problems and depression when they are undergoing hormonal changes, such as adolescence and menopause.
Depression and sleep problems
Depression and sleep problems are usually intertwined. Symptoms of sleeplessness, such as difficulties in falling asleep at night or waking up, are among the common symptoms of depression. A bad quality of sleep, sleeplessness, a duration of sleep that is either too long or too short, could function as risk factors for depressive episodes.
Sleep physiologies of depressive patients
Throughout the studies conducted with electrophysiological interventions (EEG), it can be observed that there are changes in the sleep physiologies of depressive patients. Depressive patients are observed to have delays at the start of the sleep, lower levels of delta oscillations (less deep sleep at the beginning of the sleep), low brainwaves, as well as a decline in sleep phases, and excessiveness in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
The fact that similar sleep indicators were observed in risky control groups with depressive tendencies in specific studies that involved healthy controls as well, shows that the state of sleep could make contributions to the predictability of depression.
Women face more depression and sleep problems
The studies show that women, on average, have higher levels of tetha and delta waves in their EEG results, compared to men, even though they face more depression and sleep problems than men, and that they in fact experience a deeper sleep, compared to men.
M.W.L. Morssinkhof, D.W. van Wylick, S. Priester-Vink, Y.D. van der Werf, M. den Heijer, O.A. van den Heuvel, B.F.P. Broekman, Associations between sex hormones, sleep problems and depression: A systematic review, Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, Volume 118, 2020, Pages 669-680, ISSN 0149-7634, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2020.08.006.