Self reported symptoms of anxious and depressed individuals often include an inability to sleep consistently or deeply. Results dating back to the 1960s suggest that anxiety and depression may result in changes to sleep patterns as measured electroencephalograms. For example, in one study researchers found that anxious individuals obtained significantly less sleep, less rapid eye movement sleep (one important phase of sleep where dreaming occurs), but a greater amount of phase 1 sleep (the initial stage of sleep where the individual drifts in and out of consciousness). Therefore it could be summarised that anxious individuals have less total sleep and that this sleep is of a lower quality for restorative purposes. Anxious individuals may also have more awakenings during the night, which may be contributed to by being more often in a less deep state of sleep. The ability of certain plant extracts to improve the quality and duration of sleep, may therefore explain some of the medicinal benefits of these plants in treating mood disorders.
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