Are Sleep Problems Symptoms or Causes of Emotional Disorders

sleeping like a dog
In a thought provoking article, Sleep study at Pitt is a researcher’s dream job, in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the role of sleep in mental health is explored.

Some of the many interesting points from the interview of Dr. Anne Germain are:

  • “…there is growing evidence that sleep problems are actually the cause of many psychological and physical illnesses, rather than a side effect of them.”
  • “‘Whether we’re dealing with depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, when we target sleep problems, we can have a significant improvement in people’s daytime functioning,’ she said.”
  • There are ” two effective therapies available to reduce or eliminate nightmares….
    One is an older high blood pressure medication called prazosin.
    [The other is] imagery rehearsal therapy, it provides ways for people to rewrite their nightmares into less threatening dreams, and it is effective in more than 90 percent of people who have tried it…”
  • And, of course, “the vast majority of people need between 6 1/2 and 8 hours of sleep a night to function well.”

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