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Depress Res Treat. 2015;2015:764649. doi: 10.1155/2015/764649. Epub 2015 Jan 6.

Short-term effects of electroconvulsive therapy on subjective and actigraphy-assessed sleep parameters in severely depressed inpatients.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Leiden University Medical Center, P.O. Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, Netherlands.
2
Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, Leiden University Medical Center, P.O. Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, Netherlands.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Sleep disturbances are a key feature of major depression. Electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) may improve polysomnography-assessed sleep characteristics, but its short-term effects on actigraphy-assessed and subjective sleep characteristics are unknown. We therefore aimed to assess the effects of ECT on subjective and objective sleep parameters in a proof-of-principle study.

METHODS:

We assessed subjective and objective sleep parameters in 12 severely depressed patients up to 5 consecutive days during their ECT course, corresponding to a total of 43 nights (including 19 ECT sessions). The 12 patients were 83% female and on average 62 (standard deviation (SD) 14) years old and had an average MADRS score of 40 at baseline (SD 21).

RESULTS:

Subjective and objective sleep parameters were not directly affected by ECT. The subjective sleep efficiency parameter was similar on the day after ECT and other days. ECT did not affect the number of errors in the Sustained Attention to Response Task. Patients subjectively underestimated their total sleep time by 1.4 hours (P < 0.001) compared to actigraphy-assessed sleep duration.

CONCLUSION:

ECT did not affect subjective and actigraphy-assessed sleep in the short term. Depressed patients profoundly underestimated their sleep duration.

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