Sleep deprivation can rapidly reduce symptoms of depression, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania.


The researchers reviewed over 2,000 studies, out of which they pulled data from a final group of 66 studies executed over a 36 year period before making the submission.

Aside from learning that sleep deprivation reduces symptoms of depression, partial sleep deprivation was also found to be equally as effective as total sleep deprivation in scaling back depression.

“More than 30 years since the discovery of the antidepressant effects of sleep deprivation, we still do not have an effective grasp on precisely how effective the treatment is and how to achieve the best clinical results,” said study senior author Philip Gehrman, an associate professor of psychiatry.


“Our analysis precisely reports how effective sleep deprivation is and in which populations it should be administered.

Elaine Boland, lead author and research psychologist, said: “These studies in our analysis show that sleep deprivation is effective for many populations.”

“Regardless of how the response was quantified, how the sleep deprivation was delivered, or the type of depression the subject was experiencing, we found a nearly equivalent response rate.”


According to the scientists, further research is needed to identify exactly how sleep deprivation causes significant reductions in depression severity.

The results have been published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

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