New studies suggest smarter sleep therapy may help people who suffer from depression


Not impossible, especially (but not only) for those whose depression is linked to seasonal/lighting cues. Part of the depression feedback loop can either be repeatedly staying up late to try to get something done (and becoming progressively more tired), or the “maybe if I sleep in I’ll feel better” loop which can be the flipside of that.

As a psychologist in an inpatient ward I hear a lot of “last night I didn’t sleep one wink” while the clinical notes report the person was asleep on all (or most) watches (sometimes snoring is noted). I often choose not to focus on sleep issues as it’s pretty much impossible a lot of the time to convince people that for a lot of the night they are actually asleep and don’t realise this because often we don’t remember being asleep. Even studies that have hooked people up to EEG while they sleep to show they were asleep fail to convince people. I’ve spent a significant amount of time today talking to two patients about this very subject. Sleep is difficult!


The part where I’m sitting up watching a movie or hacking on some code instead of laying down and sleeping is usually a good indicator to me of whether I’m asleep or not. Waking up several times during the night for a few minutes is one thing, but being in a completely separate room and engaged in some activity is another.

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