The quality of sleep and good rest are essential to avoid depression, they are even a means to reverse some symptoms of anxiety, irritability and stress that more than 60% of the world’s population suffer daily. 

Sleep, or the lack of it, turns out to be linked to clinical depression. Insomnia is very common in the US, affecting one in three adults at some point in their life. The inability to fall asleep or stay at night is thought to be a key contributor to the onset of depression.

Why do we sleep?

When we are children we all get to ask mom or dad why do we sleep ? As adults we wonder how many hours of deep sleep are necessary ? The truth is that sleep is a state of restoration where your body and mind recharge and recover from the events of the day . Within it, there are different stages with specific functions.

If that state of restoration is interrupted, you will feel fatigued, with a feeling of exhaustion and lack of concentration, forgetfulness and ongoing illness. This can cause a vicious cycle of inactivity, with a high probability of suffering from depression .

How many hours of deep sleep are necessary to avoid depression

There are people who say that ” sleeping five hours is enough .” However, this is not healthy at all. According to specialists, the recommended number of hours to sleep for an adult is between 7 to 9 hours a day. While 6 hours of sleep are   recommended by the WHO .

Of course, each person will determine how many hours at least they need to sleep , depending on their case, since each body is different. What counteracts a depressive disorder is getting enough sleep. Since, depression feeds on disturbed or interrupted sleep. That is why you need to have the ideal conditions to enjoy a nutritious and restful sleep.

Stages of sleep

The recommended hours to sleep are at night, a period during which our body performs different natural and cyclical processes. In them, it carries out metabolic changes in cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive and neuronal functions. Each of them being vital for the development and stability of our body. Sleep is divided into four different and fundamental stages, which vary as the night goes on. Let’s see:

1. Drowsiness

Drowsiness or numbness is the first stage of sleep and only lasts a few minutes before entering the next. Right at this stage our body begins to relax.

2. Light sleep

At this stage it could be said that we are a little asleep and a little awake. They may speak to us and we will respond, but the next day we won’t remember any of it. The body continues to relax, but any noise could wake us up.

3. Slow or deep sleep

In this stage, the body regulates its functions and considerably lowers respiratory and cardiovascular activities, blood pressure, among others. However, intestinal activities increase, allowing the body to absorb proteins and nutrients from the food consumed during the day. As well as there is an increase in hormones (FSH and LH), responsible for the ovulation process and sperm formation respectively.

4. REM sleep

In this stage dreams are generated, there is also considerable brain activity, as well as an irregular increase in cardiorespiratory activities. Similarly, there is a decrease in body temperature and an increase in male and female hormonal secretion depending on gender. Not having interruptions during this stage will undoubtedly help you avoid depression .

What can you do to fall asleep?

Lack of or interrupted sleep can lead to depression or contribute to an even longer depressed state . What can we do before going to bed to increase the chance of falling asleep? Let’s see what will help you:

1. Listen to soft music before bed

This trick can increase relaxation and help you focus your mind on pleasant or emotionally neutral topics.

2. Make a list of things to do the next day:

The goal of this is to help calm your mind, but be careful and avoid obsessing over your to-do list. By putting things in writing hours before you go to sleep, your mind tends to put those worries aside and forget about them, which will help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

3. Exercise

Being tired at the end of the day can help you fall asleep. The endorphins that are released can help your mood improve considerably. Sure, limit exercise to a couple of hours before bed at the latest.

With these new habits that you can start today, or that you can reinforce if you already carry them out, you can improve the quality of your sleep and thus avoid depression, which many times has a simpler cause than it may seem to us.

What should you avoid?

If you want to fall asleep in a pleasant way, you should avoid the following activities or situations:

  • Stress
  • Consuming exciting or stimulating beverages
  • Eating heavy meals before going to bed
  • Sleeping at different times every day
  • Have the mobile phone in your hands when you are already in bed
  • Sleeping in a very cluttered room with visual distractions, such as lights from electrical appliances and very loud outside noises.

Sleep problems are common, always remember how many hours you should sleep to avoid depression . The answer is, sleep enough hours according to your body, that is, the necessary hours until you feel recharged with energy and vitality. According to recent studies, it is mentioned that the quality of sleep is more important than the quantity of it . So try to rest in a place that allows you to sleep soundly.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses. He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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