Sleep and Depression's Complicated Relationship

A recent Scientific American article describes insomnia as both a common symptom of major depression and a potential solution for a depressed person hoping for quick relief. 

Often after depressed individuals have taken the initial, hard steps to see a psychiatrist and become diagnosed correectly, their psychiatrist will recommend medication that often takes from four to six weeks to become effective.  

One such patient asked Dr. Steinberg if there was something she could do in the meantime. Dr. Steinberg asked her patient to skip a few nights of sleep, which her patient begrudgingly agreed to. She adhered to a schedule tailored for her, going through an “all-nighter” and afterwards following "a prescribed routine of specific bed and wake times to shift her sleeping cycle. She also sat in front of a full-spectrum light box at breakfast every morning." Mixing the effects of resetting her sleep cycle, which in turn can reset our mood, along with full-spectrum light therapies is thought to help patients feel the positive effects of sleep therapy even longer.

Although the patient found staying up to be tough, she did notice significant improvements in her depressive symptoms before her medication kicked in.

Full article here.

 

Posted on December 10, 2016 .