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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 quality evidence suggests sleep deprivation may improve depression in people with bipolar disorder. Review authors report rates of switching to mania were very low (~1%).

June 2020

Last updated at: 4:14 am, 30th June 2020
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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.