Inequalities in mental health are associated with inequalities in sleeping difficulties
posted on: May 26, 2014
New research highlights links between inequalities in mental health and sleeping difficulties. It is already known that women and those in poorer circumstances (e.g. in working class occupations) are more likely to have symptoms of anxiety and depression, and to have difficulties sleeping (i.e. trouble getting to sleep and trouble staying asleep). The new research demonstrates that it tends to be the same people who struggle with both problems, and that problems can persist over long periods of time, up to 20 years. This is important, because other research shows that treatment for sleeping difficulties can help treat, some say even prevent, depression. Thus, helping women and those in poorer circumstances to sleep better may help reduce inequalities in mental health.
The research led by Michael Green at the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow used data from the West of Scotland: Twenty-07 Study which followed people from in and around Glasgow for 20 years. The research focused on a group of 999 people who had been followed-up every five years or so since 1987 when they were around 36 years of age until they were about 57 years old in 2007/8. People in manual occupations were more likely to have persistent sleeping difficulties and persistent symptoms of anxiety and depression during this time, and it tended to be the same people who were having both problems. Women were more likely to develop sleeping difficulties between 45-50 years of age, and this accounted for a higher likelihood of anxiety and depression symptoms among women at age 57.
The full paper can be found here.