Taxing times – I know, but the obvious has to be said

My accountant came over this morning – I”d thought it was going to be the afternoon, but luckily I checked – and so I had to gather all the paperwork together.  It was a dismal hour or so, mostly because I had to face quite how much I’d had to spend on the London flats in the past year.  A year’s income from them, in fact – more, when you take into account lost income as one flat was empty for four months.  First there was a problem with the roof – I think it was brought about because of building work next door but I can’t prove it – and then a problem with the drains.  My tenants left and I couldn’t get a new one until everything had been done, and then the drain thing happened once the new (and lovely) tenants moved in.  I am hoping for the best now.  I’ve got a tax bill for the end of the month and all these expenses should wipe it out, at least.

At least it’s out of my hair now for the rest of the year.  She will let me have the returns for signature and I can relax again.  I hadn’t consciously been thinking about this, but I only slept for about four hours last night – I took LT out to lunch in celebration of dealing with it and then I napped heavily for an hour, I should think, this afternoon – which may well scupper my attempts to sleep tonight.

I was intrigued, the other day, to read a newspaper article about treating depression with sleep deprivation.  It seems completely counter-intuitive, but apparently some people who are chronically depressed (particularly bipolar people and those with mood swings) find that they can function best after a sleepless night.  This was discovered about 50 years ago in Germany; but the benefits were short-term.  But the article in The Times says that the patient is called into hospital as an out-patient and stays awake all night, then goes to bed with instructions to go to bed at 5pm and set an alarm for 1am.  A nurse phones half an hour later to be sure they haven’t gone back to sleep.  At 7am, the patient shines a white light on their face to mimic the morning sun and then, over the next two evenings, they gradually move their sleeping and waking cycles back to normal.  By the fifth day, they’re back to normal timing and studies in Italy and Denmark show that the therapy is of longterm benefit in about half the patients who try it.  It’s like a reset button for the brain, they say.  Of course, depression is often accompanied by sleep problems, so this very controlled resetting of the body clock presumably counteracts the irregular sleep.  The trouble with newspaper articles is that they never give the full facts – it said this has been trialled in this country for a year and gave an interview with a woman who’d tried it and was thrilled with the results, but didn’t say how long it had lasted so far.  All the same, there are no drugs and you basically have to give a weekend, plus a couple of evenings/nights to it, so it doesn’t even have to mean time off from work, and it can be repeated if depression builds up again, so it could be of huge benefit.

5 comments on “Taxing times – I know, but the obvious has to be said

  1. Kipper

    It sounds like bunk. A friend has worked the night shift (11 p.m to 7:30 a.m.) for decades. They never feel like they got a good sleep or are rested and seem a bit depressed.

    1. Z Post author

      The original study was on people who needed to be awake during the day and found that their symptoms of severe depression were temporarily alleviated after a sleepless night, then depression built up again. I’ve a friend who, in his working days, did a week of 12 hour night shifts followed by a week off – this went on for years and suited his family life and he didn’t seem to mind, but I thought it sounded a very difficult way to live. In this therapy, it’s just one single sleepless night in hospital (it did point out that in some cases, sleeplessness could make depression even worse, so I guess that’s why it needs to be in hospital to monitor patients) and then a normal amount of sleep, just not at a normal time for the next few days. It does seem odd but if you’ve been clinically depressed for a long time then I think it would be worth trying.

  2. Mother of the Bride

    There was a meta study published last year

    J Clin Psychiatry. 2017 Sep/Oct;78(8):e1020-e1034. doi: 10.4088/JCP.16r11332.
    Meta-Analysis of the Antidepressant Effects of Acute Sleep Deprivation.

    Boland EM1,2, Rao H3, Dinges DF2, Smith RV1, Goel N2, Detre JA3, Basner M2, Sheline YI2, Thase ME1,2, Gehrman PR4,1,2.
    Author information

    1. Z Post author

      Thank you for that, MOTB, I’ll be interested to read it. Not that I’m depressed, I’m relieved to say. Just interested.


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