Sleep deprivation in mood disorders

Neuropsychobiology. 2011;64(3):141-51. doi: 10.1159/000328947. Epub 2011 Jul 29.


Growing clinical evidence in support of the efficacy and safety of sleep deprivation (SD), and its biological mechanisms of action suggest that this technique can now be included among the first-line antidepressant treatment strategies for mood disorders. SD targets the broadly defined depressive syndrome, and can be administered according to several different treatment schedules: total versus partial, single versus repeated, alone or combined with antidepressant drugs, mood stabilizers, or other chronotherapeutic techniques, such as light therapy and sleep phase advance. The present review focuses on clinical evidence about the place of SD in therapy, its indications, dosage and timing of the therapeutic wake, interactions with other treatments, precautions and contraindications, adverse reactions, mechanism of action, and comparative efficacy, with the aim of providing the clinical psychiatrist with an updated, concise guide to its application.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods
  • Humans
  • Mood Disorders / drug therapy
  • Mood Disorders / therapy*
  • Psychiatric Somatic Therapies / methods*
  • Sleep Deprivation / metabolism
  • Sleep Deprivation / psychology*


  • Antidepressive Agents