Even more surprising is another phenomenon, which I noticed after detailed questioning of my patients. They said that in the early morning hours, they are often in a strange half-asleep state.
They do not want to wake up completely; there is no feeling that they have slept (and this is not surprising, because the dream was terrible), in their head, according to them, some torn thoughts are flashing, interspersed with vague visual visions. They are similar to plans, but some incomplete, and the person has the impression that he is in an indefinite state between wakefulness and sleep.
Very often, in this state, a person suffering from depression has a feeling of helplessness and confusion in front of threatening events and frightening images that pop up in the imagination.
If patients manage to interrupt this half-asleep state, it is possible to prevent the development of morning depression. A similar half-sleep state occurs in a healthy person when he did not get enough sleep and was very tired. Still, circumstances do not allow him to relax and fall asleep. During wakefulness, his eyes involuntarily close, and short-term visions appear in drowsiness that has nothing to do with what he is. I just tried to practice.
But the difference between healthy and sick people is that healthy people after such conditions often feel some decrease in fatigue, short-term relief, and in patients, they often turn into a morning worsening of depression. Moreover, it turns out that if patients manage to interrupt this half-asleep state and, instead of staying in bed, get up and start doing something, even the most straightforward homework, it is possible to prevent morning depression.
This extraordinary phenomenon has a scientific basis. In the morning hours, all people have an increase in the amount of so-called “REM” sleep, the state in which we see and experience dreams.
Dreams have an essential function. If they are qualitatively complete, they ensure the restoration of search activity after its decline, which occurred during wakefulness for various reasons – from stress caused by failures to relaxation associated with achieving important goals.
Search activity contributes to overcoming life’s difficulties and increases the body’s resistance to stress and allows you to maintain physical and mental health.
This morning state is a mixture of a nap with snatches of such inadequate REM sleep. Therefore, a healthy person is usually ready in the morning after sleep to actively overcome difficulties, in contrast to his state in the evening. But this only happens when REM sleep is functionally complete.
And in patients with depression, it is qualitatively defective and does not contribute to the restoration of search activity but even aggravates the state of refusal to search and increases the feeling of helplessness. And this morning state is a mixture of naps with snatches of such inadequate REM sleep.
In recent years, in some psychiatric clinics, the frequent early morning awakening has been used to treat depression, which makes it possible to relieve patients of these states of drowsiness mixed with scraps of REM sleep. This leads to an excellent healing effect.