Tackling depression through sleep therapy

Researchers at the University of Glasgow are looking at ways of treating depression by improving a person’s sleep.

And they believe that by getting a better night’s rest, mood can be improved.

Specialists at the University of Glasgow Sleep Centre are looking for people who have been diagnosed with depression and also have difficulty sleeping.

Dr Marina Malaffo said: “People with depression very often have also difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep or they find that they wake up in the early hours of the morning and cannot return to sleep.

“There is growing evidence that improving people’s sleep helps reducing depression and it enhances response to antidepressant therapy.

The researchers are now looking for 30 volunteers, aged 18 years or over, who have both depression and insomnia but are otherwise healthy.

Dr Malaffo said: “Specifically, we are looking for people who have been recently prescribed antidepressant therapy by their GPs and have also difficulties sleeping.

“Participants to the trial will meet with the researcher for an interview regarding their sleep and mood and how it impacts on their life and will also fill in a few questionnaires. Thereafter, participants will receive a behavioural program for insomnia.

“In short, we will teach them how to make changes in their behaviour at night time so as to go back to sleep well. Participants will be in the study for 5 weeks and during such period they will meet with the researcher in three occasions and also have four brief telephone contacts to discuss how the insomnia therapy and their sleep is progressing.

“We hope people will volunteer for this important study. As well as aiding our understanding of both depression and insomnia, participants may notice an improvement in their mood and will certainly understand much better their sleep and what can be done to get back to sleep better.”

The research will take place at the University of Glasgow Sleep Centre at the Southern General Hospital.

To volunteer for the study, contact Dr Malaffo on 0141 232 7699 or email m.malaffo@clinmed.gla.ac.uk

Notes for editors

For more information please contact Ray McHugh in the University of Glasgow Media Relations Office on 0141 330 3535 or email r.mchugh@admin.gla.ac.uk

First published: 22 January 2008

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