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Depression, dreaming and waking up tired


Jul 22, 2016
Waking up exhausted after many disturbing dreams is a common experience for many depressed people.

It has been shown that depressed people dream up to three times as much as non-depressed people but why should this be? And does this have anything to do with feeling so short of energy first thing in the morning?

The answer is yes, it does, and we know exactly why.

The latest scientific understanding of dreams tells us that we dream for specific biological and psychological purposes.

Emotionally arousing ruminations which are unfulfilled at sleep onset (i.e. the concern is still a worry) get ‘dreamed out’ metaphorically during dreaming. This is done to leave the ‘higher brain’ (neo-cortex) free for dealing with the next day's events.

Dreaming literally takes the ‘charge’ out of a concern. However dreaming is a very distinct part of sleep. It’s called ‘paradoxical sleep’ because it is not the part of sleep which provides us with rest. During the dream phase of sleep (REM), we actually have more of the ‘stress hormones’ such as adrenaline in our systems.

So over-dreaming stresses the system leaving us exhausted when we awaken. If a depressed person is woken every time they show rapid eye movement (which generally coincides with dreaming) then the symptoms of clinical depression can lift. But they may become extremely anxious or manic as the negatively arousing ruminations are still occurring but no longer being ‘flushed out’ by the dream process.

Nature sometimes tries to prevent the person over-dreaming by causing them to awaken in the early hours of the morning so that they spend less time in dream sleep. This is known as early morning waking syndrome.

So why do depressed people dream more?

Depressed people dream more because they have more emotional arousal to ‘dream out.’ Depression causes (and is caused by) a lot of emotionally-arousing introspection, or rumination, that endless sort of worrying that never seems to go anywhere and just makes you feel bad.

The importance of this discovery cannot be overstated. We now know why most of the symptoms of depression occur, and what to do about them.


- The more you dream the more tired you will be when you wake up.
- The more issues you are concerned about before going to bed (being ugly, bald, framecel, etc.) the more dreams you will have.

This partly explains why some incels have so little energy. I've noticed it personally, when I have few or no dreams I wake up refreshed after 8 hours of sleep. But other times when I go to bed sad (after getting redpilled for example) I sleep like 10 hours and wake up tired as fuck.