Tiredness Causes Depression Which Causes Pessimism and Vice Versa
People who are depressed do, in fact, have good memories, but alas for negative information rather than positive information.
Brian Johnson highlights a study in which researchers showed subjects images and then tested people who were sleep-deprived and those who weren’t on recall of the images. The images had obvious emotional content, for example a cuddly puppy or a photo of a battleground. Sleep-deprived people had difficulty recalling the positive images but not the negative images.
Folks struggling with depression typically can remember only the negative aspects of their lives. And they are are often sleep deficient.
Everyone needs eight and half hours of sleep out of every twenty-four, Brian asserts, citing research. Everybody. If you need an alarm clock to wake up every day, if you can’t get rolling until a shot or two of espresso, and you find that you sleep long and hard on weekends, then you are probably not getting enough sleep.
The body is wonderfully homeostatic; that is, it has mechanisms to enforce its need for sleep. It’s almost as simple as this: if you are sleepy, sleep. Note: You and I would fall into that “everybody” category. If you’re committed to feeling depressed, definitely make sure you get inadequate sleep,” Brian says sarcastically.
The homeostatic mechanism is simple: Sunlight strikes a tiny gland behind the eye called the pineal gland, which in turn regulates the production of melatonin, the hormone that creates our circadian rhythms and ultimately allows us to sleep. Aligning with our circadian rhythms is *really* important. For examples, researcher has shown that nurses who mostly work night shifts are more likely to develop breast cancer.
The average office is about three times as bright as the threshold for having a broad-daylight mimicking effect. A smart phone held right in front of your face can have a similar disturbing effect, especially 2, 3, 4 hours after sunset.
If we want to live in harmony with our circadian rhythms and get a good night of sleep, we need to ensure the hormone melatonin is functioning properly in our bodies.
Of course, we’ve had artificial light from campfires for a long time and the famous cave painters used fat-fueled lamps to work their magic 40,000 years ago. But those sources of light produced very different wavelengths than electric lights do. They were much dimmer and approached nowhere near the power of the light we now bathe in, sometimes 18 hours a day.
A relatively simple solution: Sharply turn down the brightness setting on screens, wear blue light-blocking glasses, have dimmer switches on your lamps and overhead lights, especially in the bedroom and bathroom. Create a “digital sunset” at least 60 minutes before you hope to be sleeping; 120 minutes is usually even more effective.
Topics: Anti-depression, sleep-depression link, holistic health, stress, pessimism, depression-sleep link