forced sleep deprivation and depression

Don don at
Thu Mar 29 22:27:50 EST 2001

What do you think of the drug Ambien? How long is it safe to take? Any bad
side effects?

<dag.stenberg at> wrote in message
news:99s71r$51e$1 at
> In bionet.neuroscience Nathan_miami <asdf at> wrote:
> > Is there any medical research linking forced sleep deprivation and
> > depression?  While I am fine when getting 7.5+ hours of sleep per night,
> > become severely depressed and have suicidal ideations when I am forced
> > get by on less than six (6) hours of sleep.   My line of work
> > consulting) often requires me to work long hours and put in 80+ hours
> > week. I would like to make the switch to Investment Banking where the
> > are even more grueling. However, I don't think I can handle the lack of
> > sleep.
> Yes, there is abundant medical research linking forced sleep deprivation
> and depression. The literature can be found easily through Medline (e.g.
> ), and is partly referred to in most
> recent books on sleep medicine.
>   Very briefly as a general summary:
> - sleep loss induces a "sleep debt" in brain performance which affects
> especially prefrontal cortical functions, like working memory, the
> ability to concentrate, motivation, problem-solving.
> - in healthy humans, sleep loss very often induces depressive symptoms,
> even suicidal thoughts
> - BUT: in patients with major depression, restriction of sleep
> alleviates the depression on the day after sleep loss, but depression
> returns after a night with normal sleep. There are theories why
> depressive patients react differently from healthy people, but I'll skip
> that for now.
> - the individual need for sleep varies: 5 hours a night is as normal as
> 10 hours a night. Unfortunately, a long sleeper cannot train to become a
> short sleeper, because the biological difference is somewhere in the
> genes (and where, we do not yet know).
> It is important to make the general public understand that a person who
> has a sleep debt does not perform normally, and may constitute a risk
> in traffic, industry or other work situations. Sleep debt may follow
> from one or two nights of total sleep loss, or from chronic partial
> sleep loss, like sleeping only 4 (or even 6) hours a night for a week.
> At present, the psychophysiological impairments resulting from sleep loss
> are well known, and documented in numerous studies on humans, but the
> cellular and molecular mechanisms (which have to be studied in cats, rats
> and mice) less so. Until further notice, the only way to alleviate
> sleep loss is to sleep.
> Dag Stenberg
> M.D., Ph.D., basic sleep researcher

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