Can Sleep Deprivation Really Help Alleviate Depression?

Depression is a debilitating condition that can really bring a person’s life to a halt. It can disrupt much more than a person’s social and personal life. Researchers have been studying and probing for years to find a way to treat depression or at least make it more bearable for people. It has been on the rise since quite sometime now. According to a report published by WHO, 350 million people are dealing with this condition worldwide.

The biggest problem with depression is that the way the symptoms present themselves vary from person to person. So to think that one therapy would work on everyone is wrong. But researchers are trying out all permutations and combinations of things to crack the code of this disease.

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The Big Meta-Analysis

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that sleep deprivation was helpful in alleviating the symptoms of depression in almost 50% of the cases that they studied. The meta-analysis of 66 cases was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. The studies included the analysis of reduced symptoms in the patients based on their moods. And they also took into consideration the reports of the patients who admitted to have benefited from the whole thing.

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The methodology used was partial sleep deprivation in which patients were allowed to sleep for three to four hours followed by being awake for twenty to twenty one hours straight. The researchers found this just as effective as complete sleep deprivation in which patients weren’t allowed to sleep for 36 hours continuously. The researchers claimed that unlike medicines that take a long time to show their effects, this method showed immediate anti-depressant effects on the patients. People can feel the effect within 24 hours, unlike the effects of the medicines that can take much longer to work.

The researchers have recommended people to not try this if they are feeling the blues as this was done in a controlled environment. Also, continued lack of sleep can make the symptoms of this condition worse. There are many researches that show that people who have insomnia are more prone to anxiety and depression.

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Doctors have strongly recommended that people do not try this without proper guidance as it can make things much worse. People who are struggling with this condition can do many other things to alleviate their symptoms.

4 Things That Do Alleviate Depression

1. Set Small Targets

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When people are depressed, it becomes more difficult for them to achieve targets. Even small things can seem more difficult to achieve during this time. So, set small targets each day and try to achieve them. Don’t feel disheartened if you fail. Try again without losing your motivation. This will help you to gain your confidence and feel motivated each day.

2. Exercise

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When we are feeling the blues, our brains tend to get all foggy. So, it is important to keep ourselves active and moving. Exercise can release endorphins which can make us happy. Exercise can also help people to get over their mental hang-ups. Our brains can get rewired in more positive ways when we get ourselves moving. So, it is important that you get out and sweat while getting some sunshine.

3. Healthy Diet

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Our gut health is directly related to our mental health. So, it is important that we eat healthy during this time to provide lots of nourishment to our bodies. Some people can overeat when they are sad and that is not good. So, you need to make sure that you eat healthy so that your body can heal from within.

4. Face Your Thoughts

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Thoughts are something we can’t escape from. So, when you are having a negative thought, acknowledge that. Understand that it’s a feeling that is real but it is not a reality. And then try to challenge your negative thought to turn it around.

Depression is a treatable condition. But the important thing is to not give up and keep fighting.