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BACKGROUND: Sleep disturbances comparable with insomnia occur in up to 80% of people with schizophrenia, but very little is known about the contribution of circadian coordination to these prevalent disruptions. AIMS: A systematic exploration of circadian time patterns in individuals with schizophrenia with recurrent sleep disruption. METHOD: We examined the relationship between sleep-wake activity, recorded actigraphically over 6 weeks, along with ambient light exposure and simultaneous circadian clock timing, by collecting weekly 48 h profiles of a urinary metabolite of melatonin in 20 out-patients with schizophrenia and 21 healthy control individuals matched for age, gender and being unemployed. RESULTS: Significant sleep/circadian disruption occurred in all the participants with schizophrenia. Half these individuals showed severe circadian misalignment ranging from phase-advance/delay to non-24 h periods in sleep-wake and melatonin cycles, and the other half showed patterns from excessive sleep to highly irregular and fragmented sleep epochs but with normally timed melatonin production. CONCLUSIONS: Severe circadian sleep/wake disruptions exist despite stability in mood, mental state and newer antipsychotic treatment. They cannot be explained by the individuals' level of everyday function.

Original publication

DOI

10.1192/bjp.bp.111.096321

Type

Journal article

Journal

Br J Psychiatry

Publication Date

04/2012

Volume

200

Pages

308 - 316

Keywords

Adult, Case-Control Studies, Female, Humans, Male, Melatonin, Monitoring, Ambulatory, Schizophrenia, Sleep Disorders, Circadian Rhythm, Time Factors, Unemployment