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Schizophr Res. 2001 Jan 15;47(1):77-86.

Actigraphic estimates of circadian rhythms and sleep/wake in older schizophrenia patients.

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San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, San Diego, CA, USA.


Twenty-four hour circadian activity rhythms and light-exposure levels of 28 older schizophrenia patients (mean age=58years) were examined using an Actillume recorder. Sleep and wake were scored using the algorithm of the ACTION3 software which revealed that the patients slept for 67% of the night and napped for 9% of the day. Patients with more disturbed sleep and less robust circadian rhythms performed more poorly on neuropsychological tests. Patients with higher cognitive functioning and fewer extrapyramidal symptoms were more alert during the day. Few patients were exposed to high levels of illumination during the day, and older age was associated with lower levels of light exposure. Duration of antipsychotic use and higher antipsychotic doses were associated with decreased daytime alertness and less robust circadian activity rhythms. Patients taking antipsychotics were more sleepy both during the day and night than patients not taking antipsychotics. The circadian rhythm disturbances found in these patients did not seem to be due solely to low levels of illumination exposure. Life-style factors, behavioral factors, psychiatric symptoms and medications were likely contributors to the disturbed rhythms. The effects of the sleep disturbances did not seem to be benign. There were strong relationships between sleep and circadian rhythms and functioning.

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