Vitamin B12 treatment for sleep-wake rhythm disorders

Sleep. 1990 Feb;13(1):15-23. doi: 10.1093/sleep/13.1.15.


Vitamin B12 (VB12) was administered to two patients suffering for many years from different sleep-wake rhythm disorders. One patient was a 15-year-old blind girl suffering from a free-running sleep-wake rhythm (hypernychthemeral syndrome) with a period of about 25 h. In spite of repeated trials to entrain her sleep-wake cycle to the environmental 24-h rhythm, her free-running rhythm persisted for about 13 years. When she was 14 years old, administration of VB12 per os was started at the daily dose of 1.5 mg t.i.d. Shortly thereafter, her sleep-wake rhythm was entrained to the environmental 24-h rhythm, and her 24-h sleep-wake rhythm was maintained while she was on the medication. Within 2 months of the withholding of VB12, her free-running sleep-wake rhythm reappeared. The VB12 level in the serum was within the normal range both before and after treatment. The other patient was a 55-year-old man suffering from delayed sleep phase syndrome since 18 years of age. After administration of VB12 at the daily doses of 1.5 mg, his sleep-wake rhythm disorder was improved. The good therapeutic effect lasted for more than 6 months while he was on the medication.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Circadian Rhythm / drug effects*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melatonin / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / blood
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / blood
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Vitamin B 12 / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin B 12 / blood


  • Melatonin
  • Vitamin B 12