Occasional sleep deprivation can relieve depression: Study
A night of sleep deprivation once in a while improves mood in certain individuals, including those with major depressive disorder, according to a new study in the US.
The study was published June 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that one night of total sleep deprivation enhanced certain brain pathways which correlated with better mood in some healthy and depressed individuals.
This new research demonstrates that a single night of total sleep deprivation strengthens the connectivity between the amygdala and the anterior cingulate cortex, which is associated with improved mood in both individuals without depression and those with the condition.
The researchers used RS fMRI, allowing them to see how different brain regions are connected while people rest.
They compared the brain activity of healthy adults and people with major depressive disorder after one night of total sleep deprivation in a controlled lab setting.
The results showed that losing a night of sleep made healthy participants feel more negative, but interestingly, it reduced depressive symptoms in 43% of patients with depression.In 1818 Johann Christian August Heinroth, considered to have been the first professor of psychiatry at a university, suggested that sleep deprivation might alleviate “melancholia,” or depression.
But it wasn’t until 1959 that formal reports began to emerge, again from Germany, suggesting that a night of sleeplessness could boost mood in depression.
Experimental trials in the 1970s went on to confirm a benefit. Since then study after study has shown that spending a night without sleep, especially with lights on, indeed produces mood benefits for about half of the people with depression.