Sleep deprivation as a therapy in psychiatry

Sara Dallaspezia, Francesco Benedetti

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Circadian rhythm and sleep research have led to non-pharmaceutical therapies of mood disorder that can be used in everyday practice. These clinical interventions, named chronotherapeutics, are based on controlled exposures to environmental stimuli that act on biological rhythms. Sleep deprivation (SD) is one of these interventions and directly targets the sleep-wake rhythm. The principal indication of therapeutic sleep deprivation is the presence of depression irrespective of the syndromal classification. The reported response rates to the treatment are similar to those observed with antidepressant drugs but sleep deprivation generally causes a transient antidepressant effect in most of the patients showing a relapse after a night of recovery sleep, even when a complete response has been achieved the evening before. In recent years, different methods for increasing and sustaining the efficacy of sleep deprivation via combinatorial strategies have been studied and nowadays sleep deprivation has been used by many psychiatrists and it could be considered the most rapid antidepressant available today.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSleep Deprivation and Disease: Effects on the Body, Brain and Behavior
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781461490876, 1461490863, 9781461490869
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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