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Re: Sleeping too much can worsen depression adamie

Posted by jay on October 28, 2001, at 0:26:01

In reply to Sleeping too much effects depression?, posted by adamie on October 27, 2001, at 19:23:55

This is an area I have been doing some of my own research in, as I have found ways to somewhat help my depression via sleep. Again, YMMV, and as always, take caution. Of course, I am no doctor of any sort.

A number of research items and good books suggest one of the important mechnisms of many antidepressants is that they suppress REM sleep.
Why we with depression likely feel so tired and horrible after long lengths of sleep, is because we tend to spend most of our sleeping hours in and out of dreamy REM sleep. We rarely ever enter the deep Stage Four stage of sleep. I have found after sleeping long lengths, and when I am having a difficult time with stress and my depression, my dreams seem *very* real, so much that it feels kinda disturbing.

Of course, spending most of your night dreaming in the REM stage, without much or any deep Stage Four sleep, will leave us tired, exhausted, and contribute to depression and anxiety.

It usually takes good high doses of antidepressants over a period of time to slow down the 'hyper-REM' sleep.

One other suggestion, and again I must underline this is experimental and affects everyone different, is that decreasing your sleep time on purpose will help the hyper-REM activity throttle down. It is sort of a minor form of 'sleep deprivation', which is a sort-of valid, but not widely discussed antidepressant itself. You might be best at starting out trying a 5 or so hour a night sleep, even if you feel like crap first thing.

Here are a couple of journal abstracts to further and better explain sleep, or partial-sleep, deprivation:

Sleep deprivation as a model experimental antidepressant treatment: findings from functional brain imaging.

Gillin JC, Buchsbaum M, Wu J, Clark C, Bunney W Jr.

Department of Psychiatry, UCSD and VA San Diego Healthcare System (116a), 3350 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego, CA 92161, USA.

This paper reviews the functional brain imaging studies in depressed patients treated with sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation is an excellent experimental model of antidepressant treatments which offer new opportunities to understand the basic neural mechanisms. Its antidepressant effects are efficacious and rapid; sleep deprivation is easy to administer, inexpensive, and relatively safe; it can be studied in patients, normal controls, and animals; and it may lead to new treatments and new paradigms for antidepressant therapies. Seven published papers, coming from five different research centers, using either positron emission tomography (PET) with 18fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) or single photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) with Technetium-99-bexamethyl propyleneamine oxime (HMPAO) have relatively consistent findings. First, before sleep deprivation, responders have significantly elevated metabolism compared with non-responders, and usually the normal controls, in the orbital medial prefrontal cortex, and especially in the ventral portions of the anterior cingulate cortex. Secondly, after sleep deprivation, these hyperactive areas normalize in the responders. The magnitude of the clinical improvement was significantly correlated with decreased local glucose metabolic rate or cerebral blood flow in three studies. The results are consistent with some but not all functional brain imaging studies of antidepressant medications in depressed patients. Finally, a SPECT study using a radioactively labeled D2 receptor antagonist suggests that the antidepressant benefits of sleep deprivation are correlated with endogenous release of dopamine.

Depress Anxiety 2001;14(1):29-36

Potential mechanisms of the sleep therapies for depression.

Ringel BL, Szuba MP.

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Sleep deprivation for one night has been investigated as a treatment for depression since the first publications describing its antidepressant properties almost 30 years ago [Pflug and Tolle, 1971: Int Pharmacopsychiatry 6:187-196]. It remains a field of active research. It is the only intervention consistently demonstrated to produce next-day antidepressant results. This makes sleep deprivation an exciting and unique tool to study the pathophysiology of depressive disorders and to formulate targets for novel antidepressant agents. Importantly, it is also an effective, but underused, clinical treatment for unipolar and bipolar depression.

There is caution because this can trigger mania even in 'soft' of BP2 bipolar patients. The best combination would appear to be a partial-sleep deprivation by setting a couple of alarm clocks to let you get 5-6 hours sleep, as well as a good high dose of an antidepressant.

You may really be suprised, as the affects are quick and immediate. Of course, it is not sustaining, so if you fall back into a lengthy sleep, depression will likely just as quickly return. The results for partial-sleep deprivation are worth a shot for anybody who is depressed, considering the power and effectiveness of it.

Good luck...if you decide to try, let us know how you make out.


> hi. I have recently been sleeping 10 to 12 hours a day. Does too much sleep worsen depression? I am not feeling too well.




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