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Neurophysiol Clin. 1993 Dec;23(6):487-515.

[Sleep and biological rhythms in depression. Changes caused by antidepressants].

[Article in French]

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  • 1Laboratoire de sommeil, explorations fonctionnelles, hôpital, Henri-Mondor, Créteil, France.


Sleep in depression is characterized by an increase in the number and duration of awakenings, sleep instability, and SWS decrease. REM sleep occurs earlier. REMs density during the 1st REM period is higher than in normal controls matched in age. Accordingly, sleep in depression is similar to sleep in normal aging. Endogenous depression cannot be distinguished from other types of depression by means of polygraphic criteria. Sleep recordings at the beginning of tricyclic compound treatment could be predictive of clinical response to treatment. Sleep modifications induced by antidepressive drugs are reviewed. Sleep recordings enabled us to formulate several physiopathological hypotheses of depression mechanisms: cholinergic-aminergic hypothesis, phase advance, deficiency of process S. Other hypotheses are reviewed: flattening of a hypothetical circadian rhythm of arousal, depressogenic property of sleep in itself (or only of SWS) or timing delay for the start of sleep. A significant phase advance of biological rhythms (temperature, cortisol) is rarely found. A reduction in the amplitude of rhythms (temperature, TSH, melatonine) is more frequent.

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