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Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1998 Oct;52(5):477-81.

Periodic fatigue symptoms due to desynchronization in a patient with non-24-h sleep-wake syndrome.

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Department of Psychophysiology, National Institute of Mental Health, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Ichikawa, Japan.


A 43-year-old man complaining of recurrent fatigue symptoms and sleep disorders occurring periodically every 4 weeks was studied. Using a wrist worn actigraphy and an ambulatory rectal temperature monitoring apparatus, his sleep-wake cycle and rectal temperature were measured continuously for 4 months, while diagnostic evaluation and therapeutic interventions were conducted. It was found that after he gave up an attempt to keep to a 24-h-day, a free-running sleep wake pattern appeared but his fatigue symptoms disappeared. An analysis of the relationship between his sleep-wake cycle and the rectal temperature rhythm found that his fatigue symptoms did not appear when both rhythms were synchronized with each other. Artificial bright light therapy entrained him to a 24-h day without relapsing of fatigue symptoms. Desynchronization between a 24-h sleep-wake schedule and his circadian pacemaker may have caused his periodically appearing fatigue symptoms.

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