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Sleep deprivation to treat depression??

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com...n/?ref=opinion

I think they're on to something. I think this little article is just too short to fully explain the whole phenomenon. I've been depressed my entire adult life. I endured dreadful PPD after both my kids and yes, I think prolonged sleep deprivation, meaning weeks and months of interrupted sleep under very stressful circumstances (learning to care for a new baby) made me more depressed.

But- I clearly remember the euphoria I experienced and endurance I had when I was a student staying up late or getting up super early, working on little sleep. The next day I'd be up and chipper, if not a little hazy.

And I remember experiencing that same wonderful emotional endurance in the first few weeks after our babies were born. I was so proud of myself, I felt so capable, in spite of the sleepless nights and marathon nursing!

It seems totally counter intuitive. But I've experienced what's described in that article.

Edited to add, just in popular terms doesn't it seem like insomnia is not the same as sleep deprivation? One is internal the other is external. For example I've been having bouts of insomnia lately that I think are hormone related (I'm in my 40s). That's my body waking me up. Not the same as sleep deprivation that stems from babies/children waking me up several times a night.
post #2 of 6
I read about sleep deprivation for treatment of depression. If I remeber correctly, it has been known for a while now. A way to treat depression is to get good solid, consolidated sleep several nights in row.

There are two ways to do it. I know remeber the basic scheme, and need to reread to recover the details.
First way: you stay up one night (I think just one, but I might be wrong, and it's 2 nights in a row) completely and the whole following day. Then you go to sleep and sleep well though the night. And then keep going to bed in a good time and sleep well. The author warns it is REALLY difficult to stay up one night (or 2, I don't remeber) and then one day. You will feel so drowsy and any sitting down will lead you into falling asleep, so watch out. She is right. I tried it and couln't do it because I felt extremely sleepy and had to take a nap. She says you have to plan your day with activities after after another not to have any changes for naps.

Second way. You have

Second way (I didn't do it because it involved drugs, but is is a lot easier). You have to do it for 3 nights. First night you take sleeping pills and go to sleep. You will probably wake up in the afternoon, eat a protein-rich dinner and take the second batch of pills. You pass out for another night, and then do the same for the third night. I don't remeber the dosage of the sleeping pills.
post #3 of 6
Hmm, very interesting. I can't speak to straight depression but this could be very bad for someone who is BP. Insomnia and sleep deprivation can push you in to (or increase a current one) manic swing (for me at least and according to my doc) so I'd be careful if you are either BP going through a depressive downswing or not sure exactly what is going on.
post #4 of 6
I gotta say that this sounds like a really bad idea! I know that everyone is different, but for me personally if I tried this I would feel euphoric for a few hours and then I would crash hard and bad! A few hours of feeling good is totally not worth the days or weeks that would follow.

I do think sleeping has alot to do with depression and I wonder whether it's just that alot of people don't sleep well now (even though they think they do) because of the amount of caffeine we drink, or obesity causing sleep apnea, not using enough energy during the day etc.

I do get what Trus is talking about, but to me that's more of a way to reset your sleeping patterns and habits than anything to do with a state of euphoria caused by sleep deprivation.
post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by yogachick79 View Post
Hmm, very interesting. I can't speak to straight depression but this could be very bad for someone who is BP. Insomnia and sleep deprivation can push you in to (or increase a current one) manic swing (for me at least and according to my doc) so I'd be careful if you are either BP going through a depressive downswing or not sure exactly what is going on.
This! This is one of the things my husband's Psych is worried about with him. She keeps stressing he MUST get enough sleep.
post #6 of 6
I found that article really interesting. I know for me that sleep deprivation can put me in what could be described as a manic state (I don't have bipolar so it wouldn't be true long-term mania, but like 5 hours of feeling clear-headed but actually doing really stupid, possibly life-threatening things) so it would be great. On the other hand, when I was temporarily put on this one drug that helped me sleep at night for about a week (and then stopped working, sigh*) I felt great! I have been considering getting a referral for a sleep clinic because I am pretty sure my depression and anxiety is at least partially tied to some kind of sleep problem, and it sounds like they are finding that could be the case for many people with depression but they aren't sure of the link yet.
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