Too much REM sleep: why do depressed people wake up exhausted?

Too much REM sleep: why do depressed people wake up exhausted?

One of the reasons this book has been so
phenomenally successful is because it offers the first real explanation of why
depressed people are continually complaining of being exhausted and tired.
Why they wake up tired in the mornings. Why they find it very very hard to
motivate themselves the beginning of every day. And if you understand the
connection between dreaming, exhaustion, and depression, it’s possible for many
many people to help themselves out of their depression all by themselves. Many
people have done this. One shouldn’t make light of depression it’s one of the
worst feelings anybody can have on this earth. It’s so bad that some people
actually kill themselves as a result of that feeling. All meaning seems to drain
out of people’s life when they get depressed. Now why would that be? why
would that happen? They’re worrying about needs not being met. Innate needs not
being met in their lives. They’re worrying about losing control over
aspects of their life. They’re worrying about their insecurities, their loss of status
perhaps, or how badly connected they are to other people. Maybe they’re just not
being stretched enough. All these needs that we have as a human being, just some
of them or all of them aren’t being fulfilled in that person’s life. And they
start to worry. That worrying produces emotional arousal. That emotional arousal
has to be discharged at night in dreams. Now the average person spends about a
quarter of their sleep time in dream sleep known as ‘REM sleep’ – rapid eye
movement sleep, because the eyes are busy darting around underneath the eyelids.
The rest of the time we spend in recuperative sleep known as ‘slow wave
sleep’. In dream sleep, the brain burns up energy
there. And if you do more dream sleep than slow-wave sleep, if the balance
between dream sleep and slow-wave sleep is disturbed, the brain and the body are
not refreshed. And when you have so many arousals by this continual worrying that
depressed people do, putting enormous pressure on the dreaming brain, they’re
dreaming much more intensely than people who are aren’t depressed. And this has
been known for some 40 years that depressed people dream far more
intensely than non-depressed people. And this is why depressed people wake up
tired in the mornings. The other really fascinating thing is it’s not just a
question of exhaustion when you wake up in the morning when you’re depressed.
it’s also the lack of motivation. Lack of motivation again comes back to this
question of dreaming. When we dream there’s something called an orientation
response – a pathway in the brain that’s firing off. And that orientation response
is the same response that we need in the daytime to focus our attention to do
anything, even to get your breakfast in the morning, to get the kids off to
school, or get off to work, just to do the ordinary tasks requires an orientation
response. But if that orientation response, those neurons in the brain have
been firing excessively during this enormous amount of extra dreaming that a
depressed person does, in the morning it’s exhausted. And they find it very
difficult to motivate themselves to do anything because you have to be able to
orientate yourself to focus your attention on the different tasks of the
day just to get going. Now there’s one curious thing about this. That
orientation response is what drives you to move, to take action throughout the
day. And when you’re taking action, life is meaningful. Meaning our sense that
life is purposeful comes through the brain’s need to take action in the
universe, in the world. It’s through actions, the
things we do, that we find meaning. If we can’t do things because our orientation
response is exhausted, the sense that life is meaningful just drains away.
Drains from us completely. And this is why many depressed people think that
life is meaningless, life is not worth living, and some of them even go and kill
themselves as a result of that. Because that’s a logical extension of that
position. So it’s worrying that causes excessive dreaming, which causes a
depression. People worry because their innate needs, and needs that nature put
into us through our genes, these innate needs aren’t being met in that person’s
life. We call these needs the human givens. And
they’re well researched by psychologists. There are innate needs that have to be
met in order for us to live a decent life. And they worry about this, they
dream excessively, they wake up tired, and the cycle continues, because they’ve then
got something else to worry about – why the hell do they feel so awful? Once you
understand depression from the human givens point of view, it’s a
straightforward thing to get people out of it usually. Therapists and counselors
who want to do something for their depressed patients, need first to
absorb the ideas in this book. They need to understand the connection between
worrying, dreaming, and exhaustion. And they need to understand why people worry,
what causes stress. Research coming in now is showing that human givens therapy
for depression is proving to be twice as effective as, for example, cognitive
behavioral therapy – or CBT as it’s known – which is the most favored form of
psychotherapy for treating depression to date. But now with this human givens therapy
it’s possible for therapists around the world, once they absorb these ideas, to
improve the way they deliver their services for patients. There is hope for
depressed people for the first time that there is an effective understanding of
what’s going on in depression, and that with that understanding, they
can be helped faster, more thoroughly, and they can start to live a better life as
a result.


  1. yes it is true that depressed ppl have a more intence rem sleep and there is a reson for this. depriving your body from rem sleep is probably the most stupid thing to do.

  2. I can confirm this to be true. I have been to a sleep clinic, and yes I sleep in rem. over a ful 9 hr. i fell in rem and only rem for 5 hrs waking up and thinking i have had rested. I do not have sleep apnea… but I use a breathing machine to rest my heart from working so hard. this helps

  3. you can not live well if you are in rem sleep only. So if you sleep in rem only or 90% of your down time. what do you think will happen to your body? think about your heart, blood presser, and if you have body movement your mussels. note as well that some people grind teeth….so on

  4. Hi, i'm 17 and suffered from depression most of my life. I only recently found out about the link between REM sleep and depression and instantly i had an explanation for my incessant tiredness. I am a major clinical depressive and feel exhausted constantly. I spend most of my day shut of from the world due to depression and my fatigue, however i sleep for 10-12 hours at least but like I've had none. The therapy you mentioned sounds like the solution i need. Do you know any in the NHS? thank you.

  5. All this is true after a very sad breakup in a relationship the depression i felt caused all night dreaming then i wake up feeling waisted like i did everything i was dreaming or something.I need help.

  6. Interesting video. I have always found that i seem to dream a lot more than other people and often feel tired and depressed. Never thought of the possibility that they might be connected.

  7. sorry but i feel that you are wrong. take the cases of those who have FFI (fatal familial insomnia). it robs them of their REM sleep. they still can sleep on and off but never fully fall asleep and 0 REM sleep. they all die from this within months. seems like your body only gains anything when you are in REM sleep mode just as past studies have already shown us, but i will also agree that too much sleep is bad and even worse for your health than too little sleep though. so REM=good/REM=life

  8. Jesus fukc dude I'm sitting here trying to listen to you I have to put it on maximum volume still can't hear you…and be ause of your loud whisper lady voice is making me fall asleep lol shot I'm trying to learn something not fall asleep as if I was in class listening to boring teachers omfg

  9. This is exactly what I am feeling. I wake up exhausted after too much dreaming. I tend to dream a lot everyday and do not know to break this loop. However, I do not feel depressed or sad!

  10. Hi wayne here from ireland. i keep dreaming .with no slow wave sleep.i cant get into deep there anyone out there that can help there anyone with here with them symptoms. i would be really greatfull if some out there could help . everyday seems to be a nightmare. if i could just deep sleep iam sure it would go along way in helping me. iam just dreaming way too much.

  11. Good night sleeps requires a good bed,maybe a Tempurpedic,if not then a Sealy Mattress will work great too.Anything sleep over 8 hours will tire the body and make your feel worse,it's depression to sleep more than 7 or 8 hours.If you don't dream anymore,or have insomnia,Cannabis will fix the dream and insomnia problem.Too much Cannabis will make you sleep too much also,or wake up feeling brain fog,like you just woke from a Coma.If you sleep for 6 hours straight then wake up,get up,don't go back to sleep,it will make things worse.I'm no expert,I'm only speaking from my own experience.

  12. This is my most awful symptom of depression that I could no longer deal with.

    I look forward to sleep but then it's….

    Waking alone at 2am exhausted with low low thoughts.

    Reluctantly resorted to medication. I hate being numb on meds and I'm not sleeping much better.

    I have read all your book before I went on meds and it does make sense but I did not have the energy nor time to put it all into practice . My nearest human givens therapast is quite far from me too

  13. I have taken the old antidepressant nardil .. one of the things it effects is that it reduces rem sleep …going off it I found a problem ..rem rebound  had to go off it really slowly ..

  14. Wow, i sleep a lot, dream a lot and feel absolutely awful in the morning. Getting up the bed is so hard. going go bed is hard too. I hate it so much when everybody else seems to have it so easy and complain about my difficulty to sleep at normal times.

  15. I might have to look into this further. CBT (for me) was almost a complete waste of time. I dream a hell of a lot and my dreams are absolutely crazy, and I mean CRAZY! Just the weirdest stuff happening, often mirroring events and things that have happened to me in the past, but nearly always with added surrealism thrown in for good measure. I am often the victim of violence in dreams but I mostly fight back, or people I know are the victims of violence. I often dream of world disasters, terrorist attacks and so on. It all makes me pretty fucked up and often very tired and down in my waking life.

  16. Not going to sit there and say it wasn't insightful… But I'm five minutes and 37 seconds in video and it already got me a little depressed trying to explain the significance depression play's here. Ironic.

  17. I think i go into rem sleep too fast. wikipedia says rem sleep begins over an hour into sleep but i can start having dreams literally as soon as i doze off, with full sounds/visions everything.

  18. Is this man a psychologist or psychiatrist? I'm studying to be and I haven't learned this yet…. I am just wondering because it makes sense, but is it backed by science?

  19. I moved out of my hometown in with my bf to a new town. I cant find a job and I quit everything else in my old home town. left a lot behind. having no job and nothing to do all day weighs on you. The last couple of nights I've been dreaming more than I ever have. My dreams have been more intense. This morning I woke my bf up by punching the wall in my sleep, I've been talking in my sleep and I've been depressed. What this dude just said made everything make so much more sense and also solidified what I thought was causing all this fatigue and lack of motivation.

  20. I didn't even know there was connections. I dream all the time, very vividly. It gets worse when I hit deeper stages of depression.

  21. This would make a lot of sense. I dream a lot and its a big reason i choose to go back to sleep; my dreams are interesting. Maybe if i can wake myself up between dreams i wont be dead tired in the morning

  22. I used to rarely dream but now that I'm depressed I constantly wakeup throughout my sleep worrying about my situation and from dreaming about how I will overcome it. It's really bad.

  23. Well…Having the same problem,cant explain to parents and have fights about it….Ill show them this video…i am sure they will understand

  24. I was depressed through most of my teenage years well into my twenties and my dreams, which have always been vivid and intense, were of a different nature than now. I used to always have dreams where I'd be trying to get away from things but couldn't run fast, like my limbs weighed tons. Or I'd be trying to defend myself in a fight but couldn't seem to throw a punch with any force. I also had terrible bear dreams where I'd be trying to run and hide while hearing people getting mauled viscously. I can't pin point when my dreams changed, but it happened within the same time frame as my depression began lifting. It's crazy because I no longer run from shit in my dreams. I'm now the aggressor. My dreams are just as vivid and intense as ever, but now, I often wake up, afraid to tell people the shit I dreamt about, due to the disturbing, evil nature of the dreams. (You have no idea) So, I knew there had to be some connection.

  25. I worry all day about why i feel like shit, then i go to sleep and constantly dream and have nightmares, then wake up absolutely exhausted and then worry about why im so exhausted and feel like shit and had nightmares, then the cycle repeats itself getting more and more tired every cycle.

  26. No matter what time i wake up, i always wake from an intense dream and feel exhausted, like I was up the entire night reading a book.

  27. I just woke up exhausted, from a vivid dream at 3am. Then found this video, uncanny, guy knows his stuff. I haven't dreamed or remembered a dream for years, since being on antidepressants I always wake from a vivid dream. Well, this video swiftly answered my mind boggling questions.

  28. Guys, fuck buying a book. Try and give up your addictions first. To cure this, you need to tackle your addictions, whether it be drugs, internet, porn (being a big one). When you're constantly getting a hit of dopamine from something stimulating, you're flooding your brain with euphoric chemicals and the "reward" is met. This is why we become lazy and unmotivated, and is the main reason why depression is so common.

  29. I’m certain I’m not depressed but I get all the symptoms you discussed. Constant dreaming, feel like I’ve been up all night sometimes several days, followed by a lack of motivation.

  30. This past week I have felt like I dreamed all night long and that I am totally exhausted during the day. Normally I wouldn’t remember dreaming at all…unless it was really hot at night…that causes me to dream a lot more and feel unrested. I lost my job a couple of weeks ago….again….

  31. Okay from these videos and think my sleepwalking delta and rem sleep at the same time is from my depression which is scary coz it's sesonal affective.

  32. Give yourself to Jesus, let Him in your heart. Place your faith in Him and never worry about anything ever again. He's got this.

  33. every since i was a teen i used sleep as a coping mechanism for my depression. in high school, id come home, do homework, then sleep from 4:30/5:00 pm to 5:45 am rinse and repeat. im addicted to sleep. i revolve my days around sleep. if people try to make plans with me before 4 pm, i tell them im busy. 4 pm is like 8 am to me.

    now almost a decade later, i have chronic fatigue and its been a struggle for many years. i feel like i cant function for more than a few hours after waking up, if even that much. i sleep 9-12 or more hours, then nap during the day. my sleep is primarily dreaming. and my dreams are super intense, very detailed. ive always noticed i dream and remember dreams way more than everyone else, but i never associated it with my depression. but it makes a lot of sense.

    ive never had it explained to me this way. i want to try to fight this and create a healthier sleep cycle for myself. thank you.

  34. Thank you soooo much for letting me know my constant exhaustion and the fact that I can never turn my brain off isn't my fault…. I'm so very tired of being tired…. I dream very vividly that I'm always trying to save the helpless being elderly people, children, animals anything… I just can't turn my brain off…. Please give me some advise…. I'm so tired of being tired,,,,

  35. maybe Too much dreaming exhausts the neurotransmitter chemicals in our brains that when we do wake up its,as if our brains are low batt that even thinking is a burdensome process.

  36. You speak as though you are apsychiatrist, i neveror almost never remember dreams actually but many dayswake up exhausted. I am putting it down to sometimes disablingly severe hip arthritis pain the day before which stops me doing things, i end up in bed. Mo worroes I write books so do that when in bed. I am old vis:72 have only my husband a grown up kids as friends, and yes thatsgood but i feel i need a friend as i had one until last year after ten yearswe couldnt get on.i get no affection ever from hubby but he has alway been like that, he never gives mecompliments only abot art when.i paint , no sex for nearly ten years ok now but wasnt then and he never explained. I fail at everything. I have my family looking after me i cant even stay up to cook dinner. I am exhausyed after going out shopping orvisiting my kids etc. yes you are right but sometimes is impossible to change. I am in italypsychs dont speak english i cant speak Italian. Gill mahoney

  37. If I talk to a person about their needs I can fix their broken leg? Nope. Mental illness doesn't get healed with words.

  38. I dream all night remember all of them so well allways wake up knackered for the past year or 2 this has been going on I need it to stop

  39. this is true i used to be worried depressed and tired burned out all the time had really vivid dreams , once i learned to meditate no more crazy dreams depression went away

  40. Cannabis lowers the amount of rem sleep you get which in turn stops you from dreaming too much….problem solved

  41. Thank you this has helped to just understand my dreams are very strange iv been woken up continually dreaming and I was very frightened .
    I was a child and it was going so fast images while I was awake so scary.
    Thank you again this has helped Becouse nobody has explained this to me. Sweet dreams x

  42. Ah I knew it, I knew it the moment I slept less and the moment I sleep deprived. But it does also feel like bipolar.

  43. I have depression, I alwsys want to sleep so I do not face my problems and issues. I have insomnia and do not get stage 4 REM sleep, I take imovane and lorrazapam to get me to sleep only a few hours a night. I also have fibromyalgia for the past 37 years. Chronic fatigue syndrome comes with the FM. I know it sounds like an oxymoron having CFS and insomnia but its true. The only way I can sleep at night is by taking medicine and during the day I am exhausted but cannot sleep without more medicine. My brain cannot shut down, I still think of all my problems when I am asleep. You are very smart and I wish someone can help me find peace in my mind.

  44. Im not depressed but i have this problem and i think i have the same thing where i dream too much and am drained. How do i fix this because i am pretty happy i just am always tired and unmotivated

  45. So if you dream less your more likely to panic and become slightly more driven to do things but to much panicking becomes anxiety overtime so depression sets in, the only real answer is good communication with people through life and maybe medication intermittently

  46. This man has described EXACTLY what I've been experiencing since overcoming alcohol dependency 2 years ago. I thought I might be addicted to sleep in addition to suffering from depression, but this guy honestly just explained my daily struggle word for word. Incredible, thank you so much for the work you're doing. I'm so excited to learn more!

  47. Taking a sleeping pill before bed is the only way I can wake up feeling somewhat ’refreshed’.
    Otherwise I dream like crazy and I spend most of it conscious dreaming.

  48. I'm sorry but this doesn't seem right. Why do you have to be depressed to be an excessive dreamer and wake up exhausted? My life is full of meaning, love and I'm truly happy with my life… I'm looking for answers… and this doesn't help at all. Just more confusing…

  49. My dreams require so much 'work' that I don't rest. I'm constantly doing activity in my dreams and my brain is working. I wake up tired af…as if I was in an over-thinking trans instead of a normal dream.

  50. this is the most exact explanation of how I feel and what I have bn going through that you can't explain to anyone without them going "just snap out of it"

  51. Ha. I can tell when I'm falling sleep because I'm ALREADY dreaming before I'm fully unconscious. I went to a sleep study a long time ago, and they said I went into REM within 5 minutes EVERY TIME they turned off the light. They gave me antidepressants but I wasn't feeling depressed I just wanted to sleep all the time. There is a difference. 20 years later I've been through depression but it was the worst after I had a child and didn't sleep much at all for those first 2-3 years…

  52. Confirmed. I'm monumentally depressed and I dream lengthy, ridiculously detailed dreams.
    My dreams are wild.

    In my dreams the world looks far more beautiful than it does in waking life. Everyone around me is far more friendly, exciting, compassionate and playful than their waking world counter parts.

    I dream of wide open, beautiful landscapes drenched in bright, golden sunlight, mythological romance and enchantment.

    Bewildering adventures and a ceaseless sense of wonder.

    Mountains, rivers, pastures, long country roads, villages I've never seen before, friendly strangers, joyful gatherings and a blissful sense of freedom.

    Upon waking up to the monotonous, grey and passionless world that is waking life, in the tomb that is my house, in a world where everybody is so occupied with working themselves into burnouts in the persuit of wealth and social status that they don't have/make time for friendship, play, romance and joy anymore, I am instantly disappointed and somber about the lack of all that splendor. Funny how the happiest dreams make me so sad upon awakening from them. The contrast is just too big.

    Even the nightmares that I rarely have are more desirable than waking life. The humanoid monsters and death squads that chase me in my nightmares are still better, more exciting company than the people in my waking life, on the rare occasions that they do keep me company.

    In my dreams, even if they're nightmares, I am never bored and I am never alone. The waking world doesn't seem to be where I belong. Instead the world of my dreams seem to be my home. And I am homesick to the bone.

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