Impaired sleep is both a major risk factor and a key symptom of depression, which is an increasing health problem. In Europe the number of depressed patients amounted to 21 million in 2004. Total costs of depression were estimated to be $118 billion. Even modest improvements in the efficiency of treatment of depression would be beneficial.
Most antidepressants modulate sleep, particularly by suppressing REM sleep. Twin studies have shown that poor sleep quality predisposes people to initiation of depression. In light of these results it is reasonable to hypothesise that by improving sleep we could also alleviate depression.
New studies suggest that physical activity is an intervention, which helps to moderate depressive symptoms by improving sleep. As a paradox sleep deprivation exerts antidepressive effects in many patients. In this session the complex relationships between sleep patterns and clinical depression are explored.
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