View Full Version : Can staying awake beat depression?

24-01-18, 22:58
BBC News : Can staying awake beat depression? (http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180123-can-staying-awake-beat-depression)

This passage gets the gist of it.

"For two decades, Francesco Benedetti, who heads the psychiatry and clinical psychobiology unit at San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, has been investigating so-called wake therapy, in combination with bright light exposure and lithium, as a meansof treating depression where drugs have often failed. As a result, psychiatrists in the USA, the UK and other European countries are starting to take notice, launching variations of it in their own clinics. These ‘chronotherapies’ seem to work by kick-starting a sluggish biological clock; in doing so, they’re also shedding new light on the underlying pathology of depression, and on the function of sleep more generally.

“Sleep deprivation really has opposite effects in healthy people and those with depression,”says Benedetti. If you’re healthy and you don’t sleep, you’ll feel in a bad mood. But if you’re depressed, it can prompt an immediate improvement in mood, and in cognitive abilities. But, Benedetti adds, there’sa catch: once you go to sleep and catch up on those missed hours of sleep, you’ll have95% chance of relapse.

The antidepressant effect of sleep deprivation was first published in a report in Germany in 1959. This captured the imagination of a young researcher from Tubingen in Germany, Burkhard Pflug, who investigated the effect in his doctoral thesis and in subsequent studies during the 1970s. By systematically depriving depressed people of sleep, he confirmed that spending a single night awake could jolt them out of depression."

If that really works that is nothing short of revolutionary, in my opinion. Some people struggle for years with depression using all kind of medicine and all it takes to get better is just a bit of sleep deprivation! In my experience I never feel depressed when I travel long-distance and I am heavily jet-lagged. But maybe that's just the excitement of the voyage.

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24-01-18, 23:45
This is really interesting, Coriolan.

I wonder if it is linked with more exposure to sunlight.

It must be like a spiral, because depressed people want to sleep a lot, so if they do they're making themselves worse. All the "common wisdom" that when you're depressed you should force yourself not to sleep so much, you should open the curtains and let in the sun, and get dressed and go out, would seem to be on the mark.

I think it's different with anxiety even though it's considered to be co-morbid with depression. I'm much more prone to that than depression, and the more anxious I am the less I can sleep, and the less I sleep the more anxious I get.

25-01-18, 00:58
Hmm to be honest it does not really beat depression. I had times when i couldn't sleep and had to go to work with no REM sleep. It makes you more miserable and act more like a depressed person.

Yep I do agree what Angela said about sunlight, we do need it in order to be more happier, i was nocturnal for 4 days straight and on the 3rd day it started to feel like a sad and lonely thing since most people are sleeping and you are not.