How Sleep Therapy Helps Depression

When I first came across this study showing that behavioral sleep therapy for insomnia may double your chances of recovering from depression, my first reaction was, “DUHHHH? It’s like saying that water is found to cure dehydration. By definition, most people with depression have a variety of sleep problems. We know that having insomnia can predict the onset of depression much later in life. With all that we know about the cognitive and behavioral effects of poor sleep, it’s not surprising that neurophysiological and biochemical and even structural changes can happen in the brain due to lack of quality sleep.

I’ve been accused of overgeneralizing poor sleep as a cause of too many health conditions, but I’m only repeating studies that already published. 

Now if only we can figure out what causes insomnia. Stay tuned for my next post in which I will revisit my theory about insomnia and anxiety.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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5 thoughts on “How Sleep Therapy Helps Depression

  1. Good post, Dr. Park, regarding the connection of insomnia and future depression. To me, lack of sleep quality is all about the lack of oxygen to the brain. All of the other sleep hygiene articles are just common sense advice and I always say “DUHH” to those.

    Life Extension Foundation just came out with a new product containing “gastrodin” that is supposed to restore cerebral blood flow, thus preventing stroke, seizures, tics, migraines and restoring the balance of neurotransmitters. I just ordered this product.

  2. Well said. I agree wholeheartedly that lack of sleep contributes to a number of issues. I find the term “insomnia” to be too broad. What about people who fall asleep but can’t stay asleep or people who can’t get to the restorative sleep phase. I read the letter by a psychiatrist who welcomed this news with open arms. Probably the same doctor who has been prescribing meds for years and years and now he is in agreement. Talk therapy is great but the physical nature of insomnia/ sleep disorders is at the heart of the matter. Period.

  3. JP: if you get to the point that your oxygen level is dropping, your nervous system is already to the point of not waking up from apneas themselves. what really causes the insomnia is the nervous system being hypersensitive to airway collapse, and waking up way before the oxygen level drops.

  4. As major producers of the sleep regulating hormones serotonin and norepinepherine, the gut microbiome has to be integral to the story. Dysbiosis disrupts sleep and insomnia (due to apneas or otherwise) disrupts the gut ecosystem. I haven’t looked, but I’ll bet you ten bucks CPAP (or its newer version) improves gut function.