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Lack of sleep can cause serious mental health problems


Experts are studying the relationship between sleep and mental health
A sufficient amount of sleep is important for the body and mind. Researchers have now found that lack of sleep can be a possible cause of mental health problems. These include, for example, depression and anxiety.

In their research, scientists from the internationally recognized University of Oxford and other research institutions found that a lack of sleep can cause anxiety, depression, paranoia and hallucinations. The researchers published the results of their study in The Lancet Psychology.

Cognitive behavioral therapy improves sleep and mental health
When subjects took a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) course designed specifically to treat insomnia, not only did their sleep improve, but paranoia, hallucinations, depression, and anxiety also reduced, the experts explain.

Doctors examine people with sleep problems
Sleep problems are either a symptom of mental health problems or the latter are a secondary consequence of lack of sleep, explains author Professor Daniel Freeman of the University of Oxford. For the study, the relationship between sleep and mental health was analyzed with the help of online surveys, in which students from 26 universities took part. Individuals were later invited to participate in the study when the web-based questionnaire found that they had insomnia.

Scientists examine more than 3,700 subjects
A total of over 3,700 students enrolled in the study. The participants were then divided into two groups. One group attended an online course of six 20-minute KVT sessions designed to treat insomnia. The second group received no treatment. Both groups conducted an online assessment of their condition at the start of the study, three weeks later, ten weeks later and 22 weeks later.

After ten weeks, the insomnia in the KVT group was reduced by half
The results showed that improvements in both sleep and mental health were greater for members of the KVT group compared to the control group. After taking into account effects that are not associated with the treatment, the scientists were able to determine that the insomnia among participants in the KVT group was already halved after ten weeks. Fears and depression had dropped by a fifth. Paranoia was reduced by 25 percent, hallucinations decreased by 30 percent.

There is a link between sleep and mental health
Insomnia doubles the likelihood of developing depression, and treating insomnia also reduces depression. The study had a very high failure rate, which was around 50 percent. Only 18 percent of the participants in the treatment group participated in all six KVT sessions. Despite these failures, a kind of pattern was still recognizable, explains the author Freeman. The results of the study show that there is a link between sleep and mental health. In addition, mental illness affects our sleeping habits, albeit to a lesser extent.

Insomnia can be treated successfully
While most of the participants had no clinically diagnosed mental disorders, the scientists assume that insomnia is also a factor in severe mental health problems. The results of the study show that KVT programs against insomnia can do much more than improve people's sleep. The insomnia can be treated successfully and it also improves their psychological health, the author explains. (as)

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