New research identifies distinct sleep and circadian patterns in SAD

New research identifies distinct sleep and circadian patterns in SAD

New research identifies distinct sleep and circadian patterns in SAD

Do you have trouble sleeping during the winter months? If you do, there is a good chance that these disturbances come from seasonal depression. A study published in the Psychiatric Research Journal explores the different patterns and profiles of these sleep disorders in hopes of improving future treatments.

Seasonal depression is a type of mood disturbance associated with a certain time of year, usually winter. Due to low winter light in many places, treatments such as light therapy are used for seasonal depression, in addition to more traditional treatment methods, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medications. psychotropics.

Sleep and circadian rhythms are thought to play a key role in SAD, but they are heterogeneous and present in different ways, which would require varied treatments. This study aims to better understand the different patterns and typologies of sleep disorders associated with seasonal depression, in order to facilitate future interventions and treatments.

In the study, Delainey L. Westcott of the University of Pittsburgh and colleagues used 103 participants between the ages of 18 and 65 who were recruited through a research registry in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. All data was collected during the winter months, between December 21st and March 21st. Participants completed a clinical interview that assessed seasonal depression and other DSM-5 diagnoses, as well as changes in mood, behavior, appetite, sleep, energy, weight, and social behaviors during the different seasons.

Participants performed a circadian phase biomarker measurement in the laboratory over a six-hour period. Participants wore a watch that measured actigraphy data, including falling asleep, total sleep time, sleep efficiency and midpoint of sleep, wake-up from falling asleep, etc., for 5 to 14 days. Finally, participants completed sleep diaries for 5 to 14 days.

The results showed that there were several identifiable patterns and profiles of sleep and circadian disruption. This included a “disturbed sleep” cluster and an “advanced” cluster. The first consisted of irregular, fragmented and less efficient sleep, and the second was characterized by longer and earlier sleep and a circadian rhythm.

Although different groups were identified, these varying profiles were not significantly different on depression severity or diagnoses. These different groups have implications for treatment and intervention.

This research suggests that the “disturbed sleep” group may benefit from CBT-I to stabilize sleep, while the “advanced” group may respond better to behavioral activation so that they socialize instead of settle down early. .

This study has taken important steps to better understand the different profiles of sleep disorders associated with seasonal depression, which has implications for treatment. Despite this, there are limitations to note. One such limitation is that the study accepted 5+ days for actigraphic measurements, but previous research indicates that the measurement is not as valid or reliable when used for less than 7 nights.

In addition, the sample size was small for a cluster analysis; future research could extend this study by using a larger and more diverse sample.

“The treatment of sleep disturbances and circadian rhythms in seasonal depression may benefit from a personalized precision medicine approach,” the researchers concluded. “Changing the perspective of sleep and circadian disturbances in SAD from uniform hypersomnia and phase delay to a more accurate heterogeneous presentation will be more effective in identifying the most promising interventions. major drivers of sleep-related pathophysiology in SAD may minimize remission time and reduce recurrence rates.

“Replication of current findings is essential. While the current study focused on SAD, sleep and circadian rhythm disturbances are cross-diagnostic. Targeting specific sleep-wake and biological rhythm profiles could aid our understanding of the etiology of mood dysregulation if tested prospectively.

The study, “Sleep and circadian rhythm profiles in season depression,” was authored by Delainey L. Westcott, Meredith L. Wallace, Brant P. Hasler, Alison M. Klevens, Peter L. Franzen, Martica H. Hall, and Kathryn To Roecklin.

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