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Pharmacopsychiatry. 2013 May;46 Suppl 1:S30-5. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1337921. Epub 2013 Apr 18.

Pathology of sleep, hormones and depression.

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Department of Psychiatry, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany.


In patients with depression, characteristic changes of sleep electroencephalogram and nocturnal hormone secretion occur including rapid eye movement (REM) sleep disinhibition, reduced non-REM sleep and impaired sleep continuity. Neuropeptides are common regulators of the sleep electroencephalogram (EEG) and nocturnal hormone secretion and changes in their activity appear to contribute to the aberrances of sleep in affective disorders. A reciprocal interaction of the sleep-promoting growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) and corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH), which promotes wakefulness and REM sleep, plays a key role in sleep regulation, at least in male subjects. Also galanin and ghrelin promote sleep in men. Neuropeptide Y is involved in the timing of sleep onset. The effects of peptides of sleep are influenced by the time of administration, age, gender and depression. In healthy subjects and in remitted depressed patients motoric memory learning is consolidated during sleep. This effect is absent in depressed patients who are at least 30 years old, and is probably related to elevated glucocorticoid levels.

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