Older adults with depression may be at much higher risk of remaining depressed if they are experiencing persistent or worsening sleep problems, according to a study from researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The researchers, who published their findings online April 30 in the journal Sleep, analyzed data from almost 600 people over 60 years old who visited primary care centers in the Northeast U.S. All patients met clinical criteria for major or minor depression at the outset of the study.
The researchers found that those with a pattern of worsening insomnia symptoms over the following year had almost 30 times the odds of having a diagnosis of major depression at the end of that year, compared to patients whose sleep had improved during that year. The patients with worsening insomnia also were much more likely to have a diagnosis of minor depression. Additionally, they were more likely to report suicidal ideation at the end of the year.