Depression and generalized anxiety disorder can predict insomnia, according to recent study findings published in Sleep Medicine.
Pasquale K. Alvaro
Alvaro and colleagues evaluated 318 adolescents aged 12 to 18 years to determine the link between insomnia, depression and anxiety disorders.
“Having insomnia in addition to anxiety or depression can further intensify the problems being experienced with each individual disorder,” Alvaro said. “It can lead to such problems as alcohol and drug misuse during adolescence.”
Past sleep or mental health problems were reported by almost 25% of participants. Previous treatment for sleep or mental health problems were reported by 17%. Other medical issues were reported by 20%; 14% of whom reported previous or ongoing treatment for those issues. The most common problem was insomnia (11.19%) followed by major depressive disorder (8.39%).
Depression and insomnia were independently associated with each other. Similarly, insomnia was independently linked to generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder but not with obsessive compulsive disorder, separation anxiety or social phobia.
“These findings suggest that the ‘eveningness’ chronotype — being more active in the evenings — is an independent risk factor for insomnia and depression,” Alvaro said. “This is important because adolescents tend to develop a preference for evenings, which sometimes becomes a syndrome whereby they keep delaying going to sleep. … Based on our evidence, we believe that prevention and treatment efforts for insomnia and depression should consider this combination of mental health, sleep, and the eveningness chronotype, in addition to current mainstream behavioral approaches. Prevention and treatment efforts for anxiety subtypes should also consider focusing on insomnia and depression.”
Disclosure: See the study for a complete list of the researchers’ relevant financial disclosures.