July 30, 2015

Depression & Sleep


Depression and the reasons for it vary from person to person. Depressed people always have higher levels of stress hormone cortisol in the body. Depression comes from several sources such as stress and too much emotional arousal, over dreaming causing poor sleep hygiene and avoidance of pleasure- creating activities and essential needs which are essential for neurotransmitters like Serotonin and Dopamine.



REM stands for rapid eye movement. During REM sleep, your eyes move quickly in different directions, which don’t happen during non-REM sleep.

REM State has a connection to learning, memory, day dreaming- imagination and is known as a stage of sleep in which we dream.

Hypnosis predominately uses REM state to active change, activating our imagination and emotional centres.

REM state has been linked to our genetic programming which starts in the womb at conception; this is part of the reasons baby sleep so much.

Why do we dream?

There are many beliefs and theories; Human Givens believes they are symbols represented as metaphorical aspects of unresolved emotional arousals and needs presented to us during our day. – Symbolism – flying, chased, exposed, fears, happy, flying etc. Fitz Peal -DreamWorks is based on this also but rather as a whole of the person, Different parts of the dream are representation of parts of us
For more information: Human Givens

Dreaming is metaphorical of our expectations that were not resolved during the day which then turn into our dreams – Dreams detach the emotional arousals of the day passed as an essential method of preserving our instincts. If we didn’t Dream we would suppress our natural instincts we need to act out like flees and fights, if we lost these we would no longer know how to survive.

Flying horse

Human Givens Definition of Dreaming:

An imaginary perceptual experience that occurs primarily in REM sleep. Dreams act out our unexpressed emotional expectations (positive and negative) through the medium of metaphor. Dreaming reduces stress and preserves the integrity of our emotional responses. Excessive and intensive dreaming has been linked to clinical depression. Dream phenomena occurring while patients are awake have been linked to schizophrenia.


How this works:

The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which is made up of the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) Which decreases arousal, it is the rest and digest state. And the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS), which increases emotional arousal known as fight or flight state.

REM deactivates these states, if we look at the sleep cycle:

Stage 1: Your eyes are closed, but it’s easy to wake you up. This phase may last for 5 to 10 minutes.

Stage 2: You are in light sleep. Your heart rate slows and your body temperature drops. Your body is getting ready for deep sleep.

Stages 3 and 4: This is the deep sleep stage, Known as Slow Waves, It’s harder to awaken you during this stage, and if someone woke you up, you would feel disoriented and groggy for a few minutes. During the deep stages of non-REM sleep, the body repairs and regrows tissues, and muscle, hormones release and strengthen the immune system and build our energy levels.

REM sleep is active dream state; the body is paralysed to stop us from acting out our dreams, our mind is very active and uses a lot of energy. Usually, REM sleep happens 90 minutes after you fall asleep. The first period of REM typically lasts 10 minutes. Each of your later REM stages gets longer, and the final one may last up to an hour. Babies can spend up to 50% of their sleep in the REM stage, compared to only about 20% for adults

People with Depression tend to dream more and stay in REM stage more often, have shorter non-REM sleep cycles and longer REM stages which burns more of their energy making them awaken tired.







How the cycle of Depression begins:

We have essential needs and if they are not being met that causes us to worry.

What are our essential needs?

  1. Security- Space to grow where we feel safe and are protected. (A place we call home can give us security)
  2. Sense of Autonomy- To feel like we have control and independence
  3. Attention- giving and receiving
  4. Intimacy- Love, friendship, sex, closeness, an emotional connection with another
  5. Being a part of a wider community- Respected or status
  6. Achievement and competence- Building Self-esteem and teaching and learning new things
  7. Sufficient Privacy to reflect
  8. Giving Meaning to Life- Learning skills, seeking answers, spiritual or religious, helping others
  9. Mind body link- Physical needs, sleep, rest, healthy diet, fresh air

When these needs are not being met that causes worry, worry causes emotional arousal it changes the way our brain operates, it tends to operate through the Limbic System this is the primal brain and it’s a “stay or run away thinking” (fight or flight) -full purpose to keep you alive.

If no action is taken with our needs (above) we have intense prolonged dreaming and sleep disturbances, this will lead to exhaustion and lack of motivation to take action.

No action taken,-Expectations not being met, leads to worry

Worry leads to pattern matching, where the thought feeling reactions coming up from unconscious mind react to resent times of similar circumstances and feelings, trapping you in a cycle that brings up a negative thought patterns, emotional arousal and extends dreaming as a way to resolve this.

Negative “all or nothing thinking” creates strong emotions and leads to excessive dreaming.

Excessive dreaming causes more REM sleep which uses more energy during sleep cycles and less non-REM which can restore energy, leading to feelings of fatigue.

Diet can also influence the way we perceive our environment and affects our thought processes.

If our neurotransmitters are not functioning correctly or our essential minerals and vitamins are being used up from the emotional energy drain from disrupted thought patterning this can create havoc in the Nervous System which creates more worry and stress and disease states.

Breaking the cycle of depression

Rather than oversleeping, after breakfast find some time to rejuvenate through deep relaxation, like mediation, AM yoga or self- Hypnosis.

Give the brain a break, lower anxiety levels through relaxation and exercise. 7/11 Breathing is a great method to bring you to a calm state. The out breath being longer decreases anxiety.

Trick your physiology by creating a moist mouth. When we are stressed we lose moister in our mouths, so start to create saliva, chew Gum, small snacking or even just imagine eating something juicy.

Stop the worrying, any strong emotion is a form of trance, When stick in this state we tend to spiral towards primal thinking. Question or ignore any “all or nothing” thinking.

If we are focusing on the depression, depressed thoughts follow and we dwell on the negatives. This is because the brain goes on a search for similar memories of times when you have felt that way before. The Thought feeling reactions are coming up from unconscious mind into NOW, which then is creating a new memory with similar encoding with same thought feelings.

Addressing the biochemistry through diet and orthomolecular Medicine will balance the hormones and chemicals effecting thought process to allow Therapy to become more effective.

Neuro-Com and Hypnotherapy can address the processes of the mind. This separates the emotional content and can create new ways of copping and thinking.



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