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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Japanese Study: Insomnia Can Lead To Depression

I have sleep apnea (but use a C-Pap machine)… and for years, I struggled with poor sleep… as with apnea, your brain wakes up your body to make you try and grab a breath of oxygen so you don’t die.

I was killing brain cells… forgetting words, struggling to speak my thoughts… and all because my brain woke me up every 40 seconds or so to breathe, as I had some 600 apnea episodes over an eight-hour (or less) period. What, me worry?

In whatever dreams I had, I would replay the exact same circular moment over and over and over and over and over again… it was horrible.

When I wasn’t breathing, my body would panic, and emit sweat and adrenaline… a sour milk stench that would soak the sheets every night.

I know… pleasant, eh?

I use the machine now… get less than six hours of sleep per night and am never tired (except late at night)… considering what sleep I was getting, or not getting, the near-six hours is a dragon’s horde of healthy sleep for me. For now, that’s all I need.

I did have insomnia once - in Japan… sleeping for what seemed like maybe 18 hours over a 30 day period…

Which is worse… insomnia or not sleeping well?

I could have died from sleep apnea. And insomnia… I was just as tired… I had hallucinations… and would have done just about anything to get some shut eye.

With apnea, I had put on weight. To try and combat the over-tiredness I felt from not sleeping well, I fell into the vicious circle of eating more sugary products to try and stay awake… which puts on more weight, which lends itself to making the apnea worse.

Anyhow, I’m okay now… though I do get to wear the very sexy disco bondage headgear every night.

And I do mean every night.

I know so many people who wear it whenever they feel tired. Idiots. Wear it every night. You need it every night. You can’t catch up on your sleep. You can’t. You might think you can, but you can’t. Do you know why you think you can? Because the lack of sleep is making you stupid. Or stupider… er, more stupid.

Anyhow, according to a Japanese research group: Fumihiko Koyama, Takeshi Yoda, Tomohiro Hirao, they have done a report on how insomnia kills, entitled: Insomnia and depression: Japanese hospital workers questionnaire survey. It was published in De Gruyter, but I found it in Science News (

Here’s what the report says:

Lay people 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.

It’s a pretty weeny report, if I may say so… but still, they did ask 7,000 hospital staff in 10 Japanese hospitals... I just mean the way it had it's headline, which I will place here for the first time:

Sleepless in Japan: How insomnia kills

was used... the implication is that insomnia could kill you or a person... uh, no... the actual reports says that those with chronic insomnia appeared to have a higher percentage of developing clinical depression.

While it's true that some people who suffer from depression do try to kill themselves, the depression itself doesn't kill you... ergo neither does insomnia. Sensationalist media...

My headline at the very top attempts to avoid any misconception for the reader.

It’s a sleep study… men and women working in a hospital suffer from insomnia… do we know why? Was it the horrors or the excitement of the day? Was it poor eating habits? Was it a constant caffeine intake throughout the day that keeps them awake?

I can have a Coke at 1AM, chug it back, and then fall asleep 10 minutes later nowadays. Well, actually I could always do that. The only time I couldn’t was when I had insomnia… and I was probably over-stressed out about being away from home, people I knew dying, and women troubles… you know… the usual.

But this Japanese hospital worker study notes that chronic insomnia (it happens all the time) can lead to depression… and in this case they are talking about clinical depression… a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Now… the next step in this study, as I see it, is to either expand the study to all hospital workers at every type of medical facility… or…

… to take a closer look at the original 7,000 respondents and determine whether or not clinical
depression is a concern within the staff.

Did they have depression BEFORE entering the medical field, or has it developed since then. When did it develop… that’s always the tricky one. That old adage re: “Physician heal thyself” is sticky, because many in the field seem to not look after themselves as well as they would advice their patients.

… like with the whole insomnia thing.

I would also think that police officers should be examined in the same way… not just in Japan, but globally. Police officers might have a 12-hour shift, then pull overtime, and then maybe go and do an outside “security” job for a few hours… and then maybe try and get some sleep. Not everyone of course.

Outside of Japan, firefighters, too. These guys might be on-call for four days, off for three, etc.

I have to admit that I do not have numbers when it comes to medical staff, firefighters or police officers. I would imagine their sleep patterns are far wackier than the average person’s. Is it healthy?
Is it sustainable?

If anyone has any insider information on what a typical professional from those fields might have re: work schedule, I’d love to learn.

Or maybe the military…

Anyhow… from this Japanese study, we learn that insomnia is bad, and it can make your life worse.
I can personally state that a lack of proper sleep is dangerous to the individual…

To die, to sleep, perchance to dream...
Andrew Joseph
PS: For the record, I do not have any mental health issues, but I do know more people with them than I do without them... which seems to be more a fact of reality.

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