Friday April 19, 2019

Healthy Sleep Key to Ward off Depression Later

This new research emphasises that we can make an investment in our health by prioritising sleep

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Soothing colours, right scent aid sound sleep. Pixabay

Don’t sleep deprive yourself as it may be a precursor for major depression as you reach adulthood – occurring before other symptoms of major depression and additional mood disorders hit you hard.

A genetic study of adult twins and a community-based study of adolescents has reported novel links between sleep duration and depression.

Both short and excessively long sleep durations appear to activate genes related to depressive symptoms.

“We were surprised that the heritability of depressive symptoms in twins with very short sleep was nearly twice the heritability in twins sleeping normal amounts of time,” said Nathaniel Watson, associate professor of neurology and co-director of the University of Washington Medicine Sleep Centre in Seattle.

This new research emphasises that we can make an investment in our health by prioritising sleep, added M. Safwan Badr, president, American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

A study of 1,788 adult twins is the first to demonstrate a gene by environment interaction between self-reported habitual sleep duration and depressive symptoms.

Results suggest that sleep durations outside the normal range increase the genetic risk for depressive symptoms.

Healthy sleep is a necessity for physical, mental and emotional well-being
Healthy sleep is a necessity for physical, mental and emotional well-being. Pixabay

Among twins with a normal sleep duration of seven to 8.9 hours per night, the total heritability of depressive symptoms was 27 percent.

However, the genetic influence on depressive symptoms increased to 53 percent among twins with a short sleep duration of five hours per night and 49 percent among those who reported sleeping 10 hours per night.

Another study of 4,175 individuals between age 11 and 17 is the first to document reciprocal effects for major depression and short sleep duration among adolescents using prospective data.

Sleeping six hours or less per night increases the risk for major depression, which, in turn, increases the risk for decreased sleep among adolescents, said the study.

Also Read: Even Light Exercises Have Health Benefits

Optimising sleep may be one way to maximise the effectiveness of treatments for depression such as psychotherapy.

“Healthy sleep is a necessity for physical, mental and emotional well-being,” said Badr.

According to Robert E. Roberts, professor of behavioural sciences at University of Texas, “sleep disturbance and hours of sleep should be part of the medical history of adolescents to ascertain risk”.

The studies were published in the journal Sleep. (IANS)

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You Can Feel Better After Paying for an Online Service to Buy a Few Moments of Flattery in China

In fact, the enthusiasm has been such that even national media have warned of the dangers of relying on these virtual communities

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US clothing brand Gap has apologised for selling T-shirts which it said showed an
Accurate Map of China, Pixabay

If you are depressed for any reason, here is a chance in China to feel better after paying for an online service to buy a few moments of flattery — no matter what you think about yourself.

That is the idea behind “Kua Kua” groups, a phenomenon that has become very popular across China where depression and anxiety are on the rise.

Initially set up as communities in which university students encouraged each other amid academic pressure and little social activity, the Kua Kua (kua means to praise in Chinese) forums sprouted all over China after its social media success.

Efe news accessed one such forum, formed of about 500 students from the Jiaotong University of Xi’an, where, according to media, these groups originated.

“Hello. I have many problems when I try to do my job and that makes me sad. Can you cheer me up?”

In the next few minutes, several users responded with praises and messages of encouragement.

“That means you work with your heart and not superficially,” one message read.

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The Chinese flag is seen near the Google sign at the Google china headquarters in Beijing, China. VOA

“Fortune and misfortune depend on each other. Misfortune has already arrived, so happiness is closer,” said another.

“You face a lot of pressure but you do it bravely. Your attitude is positive. I like it,” the third one read.

However, not all groups are altruistic. Popular e-commerce platforms such as Taobao have seen proliferation of stores where those in need can rent for a few minutes an entourage of professional flatterers.

Xiao Ruichen is 27 and manages a Kua Kua and a Taobao shop.

“I found out in mid-March through Weibo (Chinese Twitter). It was very popular. So, I decided to make one of my own. Life is getting faster and people are on the verge of anxiety, anguish and depression,” he said.

“This service is very popular,” he said, adding people feel better after a session of flattery and “that makes me feel happy”.

Xiao charges 38 yuan ($5.7) for five minutes and 68 yuan for 10 minutes following which the client is removed from the forum.

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Although he preferred not to disclose how much money he earns each month, Xiao said that about 35 per cent of his income goes to the other members – more than a 100 college students whom he has selected under strict criteria such as writing speed or the ability to entertain clients.

According to figures offered by official media, the largest seller of accesses to these Kua Kua forums on Taobao may have earned more than 83,000 yuan in February.

In fact, the enthusiasm has been such that even national media have warned of the dangers of relying on these virtual communities. (IANS)