Depressed and Sleeping Less

We’ve mentioned before the dangers of not getting the sleep you need. While depression can be a factor in sleeping less, not getting enough rest can also lead to depression (BedTimes). The good news? Just because one can cause the other, or be a symptom of it, that doesn’t mean it will.

Everyone is different and so everyone reacts differently to a lack of sleep. “People who have a more active reward system in their brains are less likely to be affected by bad sleep” (BedTimes). In other words, those people aren’t likely to become depressed with poor sleep.

So, what does it mean to have an active reward system? It relates to the reward center, or ventral striatum, in the brain. Different chemicals are released based on different situations. Good behaviors are rewarded and bad ones are punished. The reward center focuses on behaviors that are rewarded. As you can imagine, a ventral striatum that is rewarded will fare better, which is what the study conducted by neuroscientists at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, observed (BedTimes).

Scientists also noted that those with an active reward system in their brains were also better able to handle stress. “‘It’s almost like this reward system gives you a deeper reserve,’ says Ahmad Hariri, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke and co-author of the study. ‘Poor sleep is not good, but you may have other experiences during your life that are positive. And the more responsive you are to those positive experiences, the less vulnerable you may be to the depressive effects of poor sleep.’” (BedTimes).


BedTimes. “Depression doesn’t always follow poor sleep.” BedTimes, November 2017, https://bedtimesmagazine.com/2017/11/depression-poor-sleep/. Accessed 23 January 2018.

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