Written by Sarah Thomas, WLLC 2015-2016
Whether one “sleeps for days” or literally sleeps four days in a row, getting rest holds a special place in the lives of college students. Generally college students don’t sleep enough and generally this is true for me as well. But as I have found out, there are a million billion reason to sleep more, but just one them it to avoid becoming depressed or having mood disorders. Sleeping alone is not a cure or cause of mood disorders, but it definitely contributes to overall physical and emotional wellbeing.
When I was keeping my sleep journal, I realized that when I slept, I was much less angry at the world and my surroundings. And when I am less angry, I tend to make less irrational assessment about my experiences and situations and cry a lot less, especially when my boyfriend calls and I miss him. Depression has had a long expansive history in my family. I know I’m prone to experiencing it, but I’d really rather not fall into it completely and go on medication. As one study says “30%–40% of patients with major depression become resistant to these treatments as a result of medical comorbidity, unavailability of appropriate services, and poor adherence with available therapies.” (Mood disorders and complementary and alternative medicine: a literature review). If I can avoid a major depressive disorder just by sleeping, even if it’s just a little bit, I’d much rather do that. It’s a good starting place, just like anything else, and it gives me hope.
There are many other options too. “Ayurvedic and homeopathic therapies have the potential to improve symptoms of depression, although larger controlled trials are needed. Mind-body-spirit and integrative medicine approaches can be used effectively in mild to moderate depression and in treatment-resistant depression.” (Mood disorders and complementary and alternative medicine: a literature review) I don’t know much about homeopathic medicine, but I’d like to go to medical school and figure it all out. Until then, I’ll just keep learning and growing and crying slightly less when I sleep more.