Feeling depressed? Change this one common habit, new study says

A public health study highlights two healthy habits that researchers have found can help cheer you up.

Are you feeling down? A universal habit could be to blame. Think of that moment when you get the notification that keeps track of how much time you spend on your phone. In June 2022, the market research group Statista surveyed a sample of more than 2,000 American adults to conclude that nearly half of us spend five to six hours a day on our smartphones. Meanwhile, a new psychiatry study has cited data from 2021 that suggested the “worldwide prevalence of mobile phone addiction is 28.3%. That’s right: Based on these numbers, nearly a third of us are addicted to our phones.

What is a cell phone addiction? Public health researchers in China led the new August 2022 Cell Phone Addiction Survey, defining this addiction as “the excessive dependence on cell phones in daily life while engaged in other activities, such as studying, partying, and even driving.” In their report, published in the peer-reviewed BMC Psychiatrythe researchers assessed cell phone use, depression scores, relationship quality, and sleep quality among 450 medical students, of whom 39% identified as male and 61% identified as female.

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The researchers who led the study reported their finding “tthat cell phone addiction was a significant predictor of depression in medical students.” This point, they say, supports the findings of “many existing studies”.

Why do cell phones contribute to depression? The researchers point to a handful of key factors. One is the scientifically proven trend that cell phone use, especially at night, can disrupt sleep quality. The researchers for the current study cited previous cell phones and steep research when they noted:

“The intense stimulation of the cell phone network makes it difficult for students to fall asleep immediately after putting the cell phone down. The emission of blue light from the mobile phone screen also disrupts the circadian rhythm and affects sleep hygiene. … At the same time, because of the poor quality of sleep and its physical and psychological effects, some students are even more prone to depression, anxiety and other negative emotions.”

To further help explain how lack of sleep can be a real bummer, a psychology study at the University of California, Berkeley was published in August 2022 in PLOS Biology. The study may shed more light on how insufficient sleep can contribute to psychological, emotional and social problems, as it concluded that a night of sleep loss “causes the withdrawal of help from one person to another,” and that even just an hour wasted. sleep-disturbed areas of the brain that allow for ‘prosociality’ or interacting authentically with others in a friendly and helpful manner. Based on this conclusion, our cell phones tamper with our brain’s ability to help us connect with others — and this is detrimental to our mental well-being.

Blue light also has another surprising impact – read One Major Effect of Blue Light on Your Skin, Says Research

This point leads to what the Chinese researchers found in the current study was another main cause of depression from cell phone overuse: Indeed, it seems that incessantly reaching for the phone gets in the way of many individuals from maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships. to go. The researchers reported:

“Students with better peer relationships are more likely to have better sleep quality and thus a lower risk of depression. Second,…. It can be concluded that students with good peer relationships release stress effectively by talking, reducing the likelihood of depression In addition, students with good peer relationships have higher psychological resilience in the face of sleep disorders.They have greater self-regulatory capacity and minimize the negative effects of sleep disorders.Thus, the quality of peer relationships can effectively regulate the association between sleep quality and depression .”

So the moral of these studies may be quite simple: Many of us need to unplug and plug in more.

A Guide to Healthy Relationships (and How to Recognize Unhealthy Relationships)

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