Sleep deprivation

What is sleep deprivation?

Sleep deprivation, or ‘wake therapy’, involves being deprived of total sleep for approximately 36 hours straight, or partially sleeping for 3 to 4 hours followed by 20 to 21 hours of wakefulness. Sleep deprivation has been associated with rapid improvements in depressed mood, but may also trigger mania. Sleep deprivation is impractical as an ongoing treatment, but is explored in an effort to uncover the mechanisms behind its effectiveness for depression.

What is the evidence for sleep deprivation?

Moderate to low quality evidence suggests total sleep deprivation may improve depression in people with bipolar disorder. Rates of switching to mania after sleep deprivation was not investigated in the one review included in this topic.

April 2019

Last updated at: 12:51 am, 1st April 2019
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Fact Sheet Technical Commentary

NeuRA Libraries

Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.