As counter intuitive as it might sound, science has shown that the best way of fighting off insomnia is by staying up all night.
A revolutionary sleep therapy
That's right. According to Dr. David Veale, psychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital in South London, chronotherapy, which involves not sleeping at all for some time, is a highly effective method of reversing the effects of insomnia.
Essentially, the therapy works as a sort of total reset of the body's clock, which ultimately improves one's sleep patterns and overall mood. The whole process takes a total of five days with the first night preventing the patient from getting any sleep.
Over the following days, patients go to bed very early but progressively wake up later; between 5 pm and 1am on the second night; then 7 pm and 3pm on the third and 9pm and 5am on the fourth night. On the fifth ad final night of the process, patients go to sleep at 11pm and wake up at 7am.
More effective than prescribed medication
The research, which was published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, found that the treatment in question can have almost immediate positive impacts for those suffering with insomnia and depression. Dr. Veale, who pioneered this new form of therapy, explained that chronotherapy was far superior than other forms of therapy, such as psychotherapy, anti-depressants, exercise or light therapy for treating depression in the short-term. He said:
It seems to re-synchronise the body's circadian rhythm with the sun the moon and daylight', says Professor 'And people with depression are often 'misaligned' in this way, waking up at night and going to bed early and feeling tired.
I became interested in this because I was looking for a more rapid treatment for depression—something that was acceptable to patients and not just another drug. Medication, talking therapies and other types of behaviour change may take five to six weeks to get a response.