Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Incidentally, one of the (many) recommended none pharma treatments to depression is to stay awake for one night (don't go to bed at all), then go to bed the next night as usual (similar to jetlag prevention strategies I suppose). The idea is that the extreme tiredness when you do go to sleep resets your circadian rhythms and ensures deep rest. I've tried it, and it does kinda help.

For anyone interested -- this model is called Wake therapy.



> In the new study, published online January 15 in the journal Translational Psychiatry, the scientists investigated whether this process is responsible for the antidepressant effects of sleep deprivation. Mice with depressivelike symptoms were administered three doses of a compound that triggers adenosine receptors, thus mimicking sleep deprivation. Although the mice continued to sleep normally, after 12 hours they showed a rapid improvement in mood and behavior, which lasted for 48 hours.

> The results confirm that the adenosine buildup is responsible for the antidepressant effects of a lack of sleep. This finding points to a promising target for new drug development because it suggests that mimicking sleep deprivation chemically may offer the antidepressant benefits without the unwanted side effects of actually skipping sleep. Such an intervention could offer immediate relief from depression, in stark contrast with traditional antidepressants, which take six to eight weeks to kick in.

Curious if it'll be mimicked somehow in the form of drugs in the future.

This is reassuring. I've done this a lot over the years, and found I enjoy life a lot more when I do this intermittently.

Interesting, as Modafinil has (one of many) mechanisms of action of reuptaking intracellular adenosine; and is also a mild anti-depressant

Although I've noticed that the come down for me feels like the comedown off some anti-anxiety medicines or amphetamines. It certainly works as a mild anti-depressant while the drug is working.

This is interesting, but isn't it a purely acute effect?

Like, you stop feeling better around the time you stop feeling dazed and exhausted. I can see the urge to get it into drug form, it's impressively powerful, but it looks like the mechanism of action and the mechanism of the side effects are both adenosine.

It would be handy in pill form, because keeping my eyes open for that long was quite tedious.

Anecdotally, I've done exactly this using amphetamine, 1,3-DMBA and modafinil. The former mainly because I couldn't sleep (due to taking it for recreational reasons) and just decided keep going until the next night (not taking any more, of course!) to not screw up my sleeping pattern too badly. It definitely does have some interesting effects mentally, though using stimulants to induce it has its downsides due to screwing with chemicals and complex biological systems!

And taking the kind of pill that keeps you awake is probably counterproductive :)

How do you resist not sleeping the next day? I know I would be exhausted the afternoon with little capacity for rational thought, and likely pass out by 7-8 PM, ruining the attempt.

Passing out by 7 or 8 is rather the point - you sleep a long time and deeply after the sleepless night, waking up with your head in a better place.

I can attest somewhat to the efficacy of the practice; in younger days I did it myself on occasion, and found it often to have the beneficial effect described upthread - as well as, on the day after the sleepless night, an interesting and generally useful upsurge of sidewise and creative thought that tended to produce ideas I could capture and usefully follow up on later, after the sleepful second night.

On the other hand, younger days being now behind me, I'm no longer able to miss a night's sleep and remain awake, much less productive, on the day following. So it goes.

I found that when I do all-nighters (although it's been a while since I've done one), I get a "second wind" of sorts from mid morning until late afternoon. So if I want to make sure I don't go to bed too early, it's only really the last two hours that are hard, although they can be very hard (especially since you don't want to drink caffeine or anything like that since that would affect the sleep quality).

Fresh air and light exercise help me during those last hours, but it can be mentally difficult to force myself to doing that.

Again, it's been a while since I've done it, so it may have been a symptom of being a bit younger. Maybe I wouldn't be able for it now...

Similar to you, I try to go for a hike/long walk in the morning/afternoon when I get to struggling with sleepiness (while attempting to make it to the next evening of an all-nighter).

My strategy would be to constantly change "stimulus" to keep my self active and awake. I'd try reading for a bit, then of course I start to go foggy and you get a headache from focusing on the text. Then I'd play video games for a bit, then watch a film, then a documentary, then go for a walk, then do some work.

I found switching activities every 45 minutes or so kept me sufficiently engaged.

This will work especially well for depressions caused by low dopamine levels, because one night of sleep deprivation causes your dopamine level to go up.


Interesting. I naturally gravitated towards both of those methods!

When I feel lots of anxiety that can't go away, I'll take a nap - there's a good chance it'll reset my "anxiety counter", letting me deal with whatever issue that was stressing me out. When I'm low on mood / even more anxious, I'll stay awake for one night - the extreme tiredness attenuates the anxiety, and at the end of the next day, I get a good sleep and wake up in a better mood.

> the extreme tiredness attenuates the anxiety

Can confirm. My morning anxiety (I got nervous when I had to leave the house) has gotten better since I started sleeping only 4-5 hours per night and stopped drinking coffee in the morning.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact