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Subjective Mood in Young Unmedicated Depressed Women under High and Low Sleep Pressure Conditions

Centre for Chronobiology, Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Basel, Transfaculty Research Platform Molecular and Cognitive Neurosciences, University of Basel, Basel CH-4056, Switzerland
Medical Chronobiology Program, Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 01215, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Shared senior authorship.
Academic Editor: Chris O’Callaghan
Biology 2016, 5(4), 52;
Received: 1 July 2016 / Revised: 29 November 2016 / Accepted: 29 November 2016 / Published: 9 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circadian Rhythms from Bench to Bedside)
PDF [1275 KB, uploaded 9 December 2016]


Diurnal mood variations are one of the core symptoms in depression, and total sleep deprivation (SD) can induce rapid, short-lasting clinical improvement in depressed patients. Here, we investigated if differential sleep pressure conditions impact on subjective mood levels in young women with major depressive disorder (MDD) without sleep disturbances, and in healthy controls. Eight healthy and eight MDD women underwent 40-h SD (high sleep pressure) and 40-h multiple NAP (low sleep pressure) protocols under constant routine conditions during which subjective mood was assessed every 30-min. MDD women rated overall significantly worse mood than controls, with minimal values for both groups during the biological night (ca. 4 a.m.), under high and low sleep pressure conditions. During SD, nighttime mood ratings in MDD women were lower than in controls and partially recovered during the second day of SD, but never attained control levels. The degree of this diurnal time-course in mood under SD correlated positively with sleep quality in MDD women. Our data indicate that MDD women without sleep disturbances did not exhibit a SD-induced antidepressant response, suggesting that the mood enhancement response to sleep deprivation might be related to the co-existence of sleep disturbances, which is an association that remains to be fully established. View Full-Text
Keywords: major depressive disorder; sleep deprivation; mood; circadian rhythms; sleep homeostasis major depressive disorder; sleep deprivation; mood; circadian rhythms; sleep homeostasis

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Birchler-Pedross, A.; Frey, S.; Götz, T.; Brunner, P.; Knoblauch, V.; Wirz-Justice, A.; Chellappa, S.L.; Cajochen, C. Subjective Mood in Young Unmedicated Depressed Women under High and Low Sleep Pressure Conditions. Biology 2016, 5, 52.

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