Sleep deprivation in depression: An integrative approach

S. V. Rotenberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The question as to whether the beneficial effect of sleep deprivation in depression is related to the increased wakefulness or to the sleep suppression by itself, is made moot by the search activity concept. According to this concept, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is functionally deficient in depression and increases feelings of helplessness and hopelessness instead of restoring mood and search activity. Thus, REM sleep deprivation, either selective or not, is beneficial by breaking a vicious circle: depression in up (helplessness) in dream scenario...increased depression in the subsequent wakefulness. In addition, sleep deprivation is an important challenge for the depressed patient. The ability to confront this challenge and maintain wakefulness has a positive outcome on depression, especially when wakefulness is accompanied by active behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2003


  • Depression
  • REM sleep
  • Search activity
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Wakefulness


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