Circadian rhythm sleep disorders in adolescents: clinical trials of combined treatments based on chronobiology

Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1998 Oct;52(5):483-90. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1819.1998.00449.x.


Delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS) and non-24-h sleep-wake rhythm are circadian rhythm sleep disorders that are common in adolescents. Most patients have difficulty adjusting to school life, poor class attendance or refuse to go to school. Since a treatment has not been established, the present paper is presented to propose a strategy for treating circadian rhythm sleep disorders in adolescents, based on our clinical studies. Twenty subjects (12 males and eight females, mean age 16.2+/-1.7 years) participated in the study. The onset of sleep disorder occurred between the ages of 11 and 17. The most common factors affecting the onset of disorders were changes in social environment. The subjects kept a sleep-log for the periods before and during treatments. The treatments were based on chronobiology: resetting the daily life schedule, chronotherapy, regulation of the lighting environment, methylcobalamin, and/or melatonin. Bright light exposure was successful in 10 patients, of whom four were treated with methylcobalamin. Melatonin treatment was successful in two patients (one with and one without chronotherapy). Thirteen of the 20 patients were successfully, treated with therapies based on chronobiology. After consideration of these results, a step-by-step procedure of combined treatments for the circadian rhythm sleep disorders is proposed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adolescent
  • Chronotherapy / methods*
  • Chronotherapy / standards
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melatonin / therapeutic use
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory
  • Phototherapy / methods*
  • Phototherapy / standards
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / physiopathology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitamin B 12 / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin B 12 / therapeutic use
  • Work Schedule Tolerance / physiology*


  • mecobalamin
  • Melatonin
  • Vitamin B 12