Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is it true that sleep deprivation can help with depression?"
I read an article that sleep deprivation can help with depression. I was considering trying this because I've been really down lately. Does this actually work? Is it healthy to only sleep a couple of hours a night?
No, it is definitely not healthy just to sleep for a couple of hours every night. Depression is a very serious problem with medical and psychological implications depending on your symptoms. Being depressed in itself can cause sleep disturbances including difficulty falling asleep or maintaining sleep, so it would not be advisable to try to sleep only a few hours every night. Adults need at least 6-8 hours of sleep every night to relax the brain and to stay well rested. If you are depressed, I would strongly suggest you see a psychiatrist. A detailed history of your symptoms will be taken. This includes questions about your mood, interest in daily activities, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, changes in behavior, energy, appetite or in your level of concentration. If you experience any of these symptoms, you may benefit from professional help and sometimes, medication may also be prescribed. If you are experiencing changes in sleep pattern, your doctor may also be able to provide you with tips on maintaining good sleep hygiene. Lack of sleep is usually a symptom of depression, and sleep deprivation is a risk factor for depression rather than the opposite. I would highly encourage you to speak to your primary care physician about all your symptoms and seek a referral to a mental health specialist to address your concerns.
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