Summary: Researchers report on a link between insomnia and an increased risk of suicide in sufferers.
Source: De Gruyter.
Laypeople tend to think that insomnia is usually a symptom of something else, like stress, a bad diet or a sedentary lifestyle, but this may not be true at all. It is possible that insomnia itself causes many of the conditions that it is seen as a symptom of. Using previous research that shows that insomnia causes a decrease in blood flow in the front dorsal lobe of the brain, and correlates it with depression, the authors of a Japanese study recently published in De Gruyter’s open access journal Open Medicine entitled ‘Insomnia and depression: Japanese hospital workers questionnaire survey’ seeks to establish a link between insomnia and depression.
Depression is a hidden killer. It is a condition that affects people all around the world. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in Japan. The yearly financial cost to the Japanese economy of depression and suicide is estimated by UPI to be USD 4.1 billion. Middle-aged males, one of the groups that was found to suffer the highest rates of insomnia are also the likeliest to commit suicide.
In March of 2011, over 7000 hospital staff in ten hospitals in the district of Rosai were given a self-administered anonymous questionnaire. The questions included information about the respondent’s gender, age, and medical profession, as well as questions about their sleeping history two weeks prior to responding to the survey, as well as detailing their overtime work, and their history of disease and chronic pain. It also asked them to assess their own feelings of depression and fatigue.
The results were alarming. Thirteen percent of men, and nineteen percent of women suffered from insomnia, and the medical profession with the highest rate of insomnia were nurses at twenty percent. For comparison, about ten percent of Americans suffer from chronic insomnia.
Chronic insomnia can lead to depression, and a better understanding of the link between the two conditions could be used to improve treatment, and prevent the condition from worsening while strengthening the world economy. The hope is a survey will be developed for healthcare professionals (and other high-stress professions) that can identify insomnia before it becomes a problem.
Insomnia and depression: Japanese hospital workers questionnaire survey
Objectives This study aimed to identify a correlation between insomnia and the occurrence of depression among Japanese hospital employees using the data obtained from a self-reported questionnaire.
Methods A self-administered questionnaire on sleeping patterns, depression, fatigue, lifestyle-related diseases, and chronic pain was given to 7690 employees aged 20-60 years, and 5,083 employees responded.
Results An insomnia score of >2 was observed in 840 (13%) respondents. Chronic insomnia correlated significantly with gender, occupation, overtime work, metabolic syndrome, chronic pain, fatigue, and depression. Moreover, significant negative effects on depression scores were observed in males aged 30-39 (partial regression coefficient: b=0.357, p=0.016), females aged 20-29 (b=0.494, p<0.001), male administrative staff (b=0.475, p=0.003), males with metabolic syndrome (b=0.258, p=0.023), and both genders with chronic insomnia (male; b=0.480, p<0.001: female; b=0.485, p<0.001), and fatigue (male; b=1.180, p<0.001: female; b=1.151, p<0.001).
Discussion Insomnia is a risk factor for depression and for other lifestyle-related diseases. The insomnia score may be useful in preventative care settings because it is associated with a wide spectrum of diseases and serves as a valuable marker for early detection of depression. Thus, our future studies will focus on establishing a method for early detection of depression symptoms among workers across various job profiles.