BY: CLAIRE KIM
Depression has increasingly become a more common disorder as our society progresses. Higher levels of anxiety, feelings of isolation, and stress, in general, have elevated quite significantly in the past few years. With more than three million cases per year in the US, depression has blown up to an extreme in such a short amount of time. Many studies have shown an escalating pattern regarding depression and it isn’t alarming to hear any more. Because it’s been widely known that depression has become a major issue, many doctors and patients are struggling to find out what may be the hidden reason behind this mental problem. Experts have noted drugs, bullying, abuse, and many other obvious reasons that could trigger depression, but I wasn’t shocked until I read one possibility regarding our sleep patterns. According to a study done by the Journal of Psychiatric Research, they have stated that those who are night owls (individuals who are more active and awake at night) have a higher risk of encountering depression than those who are early birds (individuals who are more active and awake in the morning). At first, this was quite startling to read because, from my knowledge, most teenagers and young adults are night owls rather than early birds including myself. Although I was initially shocked by these results, I have come to an understanding of why that would actually make logical sense. If we think about it, night owls are characterized by their inability to sleep early because they fail to relax and just let go. They are constantly cluttering their minds with thoughts, worries, and what-ifs thus making it hard to sleep in the first place. With so much anxiety being activated at night, it’s reasonable for night owls to experience depression unconditionally. For me, I tend to sleep late when I have an exam the next day because I spend a large portion of my night worrying about it and feeling unease to just sleep. Also from what I’ve observed, many night owls tend to be procrastinators pushing all their work to the very last minute causing even more stress to pile up. After realizing that depression can be triggered by one’s tendency to sleep late, I think it’s a good warning sign that can remind us to change our sleep patterns before its too late.