Stressors can lead to elevated ofhormones such as cortisol (often described as a “stress hormone”),and able to reduce serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain such as dopamine,which also has found to be linked to depression (Van Praag, 2004). When these hormonesand neurotransmitters function normally, the biological processes such asappetite, sleep, moods and emotions can also function normally (Leonard, 2001).In a study conducted by Ahmad and Mazlan (2014), people who experiencedepressive symptoms were found to be more affected by stressful life events whencompared to those without depression.
In addition, people who are depressed wasfound to experience more stressful life events. Rodents were used in anexperiment to test the relationship between stress and depression asresearchers have found that rodents and humans react to stress in the same way(Beery & Kaufer, 2015). The researchers exposed several different dramaticchanges that can be stressful events to the rodents’ environment for a periodof eight weeks. The results of the experiment supported the hypothesis of thecurrent study, as the rodents who exposed to stressful life events showedsymptoms of depression that are similar to humans such as having poorerlearning ability, unable to feel joy, and having poorer sleep patterns. However,the participants of the current study will be human beings and specificallyfocused on university students only. The relationship between stress anddepression can also be explained in another way, by that people who arestressed often neglect the practices of a healthy lifestyle. Study found thatstress can reduce the innate ability of the brain to function normally andhealthily (Hammen, 2005). People who are stressed out often drink and smokemore than normal people do as they believe that these behaviours help torelease their stress.
Besides, they are also more likely to neglect regularexercise. In fact, these behaviours in turn, can actually increase the risk of developingmajor depression. For example, if a person loss his/her job, it can be a blowto his/her self-esteem, he may experience self-blame, and also loss of socialcontacts, which all of these behaviours can increase the risk of him/herdeveloping depression. SleepQuality and Depressive Symptoms. Sleep is essentialfor our health and wellbeing.
For students of any age, getting sufficientamount of sleep was found to predict better academic achievement andperformance (cite).We probably already know that sleep is important, but we may not know howserious the consequences would be if we do not get sufficient sleep or do nothave a good sleep quality. Skimping on sleep can actually cause stress and depression(cite). Several studies have consistently reported that especially adolescentsand university students usually do not get enough sleep and have poorer sleepquality as compared to the general population as they often stayed up late(Liu, 2004;Thomee, Harenstam, & Hagberg,2011; Mueller, Sara, & Goddard, 2014). They tend to neglect their sleep byspending their night time hanging out with friends, playing online games,and/or doing their assignments and school works. Furthermore, the use ofelectronic devices has become prevalent worldwide for people of any age group,particularly adolescents. It has become an essential part of our everyday life,where the first thing we probably be doing when we wake up, and also the lastthing before going to bed is scrolling through the social media. According toSeo, Kim, Yang, and Hong (2016), the use of electronic devices in the bedroom willaffect our sleep patterns and sleep quality.
Considering the bright light ofthe devices’ screens, the last media use time and the actual bedtime, thecontent of the media that is violent, and/or the probability of being awakenedby the ring or vibration of the electronic devices while sleeping. All of thestatements discussed above was found to be able to affect one’s sleep quality(Seo et al., 2016).
According to Selvi et al. (2010), individuals can bedivided into two opposing chronotypes, namely the morning-type and theevening-type. Morning types wake up early, at their best and being mostproductive during first part of the day.
In contrast, evening types are the’night owls’ that are more alert and productive later in the day. Researcherssuggested that evening types are more likely to experience poorer sleep habits,higher levels of daytime sleepiness, have the most irregular sleep-wake habits.To say the least, they tend to have poorer sleep quality (cite). Results fromanother study has pointed out that evening-types are more likely to have higherrates of depressive symptoms as compared with the morning-types (cite). Mueller et al.
(2014) pointed outthat problematic sleep such as sleep deprivation can impact our prefrontalcortex. It is associated with our emotional responses as well as controllingthe three neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine) thatfunction as our mood regulation. Sleep deprived individuals have increasedfeelings of irritability and mood disturbances, and have difficulty withemotional lability.
Thus, can increase the vulnerability of experiencing mooddisorders that are associated with depressive symptoms (cite). Approximately 75% of the adolescentsthat were diagnosed with major depressive disorder showed some form of the symptomsof insomnia, and those who reported sleeping less than seven hours a night reportedincreased symptoms of depression (Nutt, Wilson, & Paterson, 2008). Whencomparing the electroencephalograph (EEG) readings of depressed andnon-depressed individuals, the results indicated that there were disturbancesin the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep in individuals with depressive symptoms(Mueller et al.
, 2014). One study by Taylor (2008) focused on the amygdala,which is a structure located in the brain’s medial temporal lobe that plays animportant role in our emotions. Participants of the study who had been sleepdeprived for about 35hours showed a greater amygdala response when they were presentedwith emotionally negative pictures, compared to those who were not been sleepdeprived, meaning that the participants who had been sleep deprived were lessable to control their emotions. There was ambiguity about the cause andeffect relationship between depression and sleep. It remains unclear whether poorsleep quality leads to depressive symptoms, or depressive symptoms somehowcauses poor sleep quality. However, researchers suggested that the relationshipbetween sleep and depression actually goes both ways, which means that sleepproblems can lead to having depressive symptoms, and vice versa (cite).
Trying to tease apart which problem comes first, and under whatcircumstances that the problems happen are difficult, because it depends onwhen the problems occur in life. People with depression may have unstoppablethoughts or have sleep disturbances that will disrupt the process of them fallingand staying asleep. They may wake intermittently throughout the night or stayawake and unable to sleep again. We should always think sleep as a risk factor for depression, considering thathigh cholesterol is a risk factor for heart attack.
They were much in the sameway as not everyone with high cholesterol will experience heart attack, but itincreases a person’s risk in experiencing heart attack. While not everyone withpoor sleep quality will develop depression, but the risk of developingdepression is higher than people with healthy sleep quality. According to Chang,Ford, Mead, Cooper-Patrick, and Klag (1997), the risk of developing depressionfor people with poorer sleep quality is estimated to be three to ten timesgreater than those who have healthy sleep quality. Research conducted bySupartini et al. (2016) studied the impact of sleep quality, sleep duration andsleep timing on depressive symptoms and the results indicated a significantassociation between these variables, which supported the hypothesis of thecurrent study.