The alarm’s going off.
I press the snooze button again.
Is it the third time? Or the fourth?
Nine hours of sleep, and I don’t feel like I’ve even started to get rest…
Maybe I’ll just stay in bed today… “
When depressed, we often find ourselves more worn out after sleep than we were the night before.
Would you like to know why?
There are two types of sleep, and we oscillate between them throughout our night.
The first type is called REM sleep (REM = rapid eye movement). In this state, we dream.
The rest of our sleep (Slow-wave sleep or SWS) is used to give rest to our body.
While we are asleep, we flip back and forth between these two types of sleep (REM and SWS).
Now, if slow-wave sleep gives us rest and renewal, then what this REM sleep is needed for?
According to researchers Griffin and Tyrrell, our dreams are our brain’s way of dealing with unresolved emotional states.
Any time we resist some emotional desire (for example: “I really ought to call my mother in-law… BUT… I just cannot stand her telling me once again what to do!”), our brain needs to resolve that emotion.
So our clever brain acts out the resolution in our dreams. This all happens in our REM sleep.
It is a bit exhausting to resolve these emotions in our dreams, but since our REM sleep is balanced out with the other sleep, we will still awaken refreshed.
So, all is good! Right?
Not so simple, I am afraid, for a person stuck in a cycle of depression.
When we’re depressed, our days are filled with looking inward and thinking about what might have been or what could be. Add those daily trips to the past and digging the old issues, fears and insecurities out…
At the end of the day, we’re massively overloaded with unresolved emotions!
So, we end up with much longer REM sleep cycles as a result of this overload.
As we have so much more to resolve, our other sleep cycle (SWS) is cut short to get us back quickly into another REM cycle.
This leaves us unable to get enough of the type of sleep that allows our bodies to renew and recover, and each cycle leaves us wearier than the last.
It’s no wonder that we awaken worn out and unwilling to face the day.
We are just plain exhausted, stressed out and need lots of rest and recuperation…
That is pretty much the shortest explanation to why you might experience more tiredness upon awakening than at the time you climbed into bed!
In my future articles this year, we will look at how to decrease REM cycles and improve your sleep, therefore addressing yet another aspect of your recovery!
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Love, light and healing!