TABLE 1.  Time course of sleep-wake interventions in affective illness



Latency to therapeutic effect

Duration of therapeutic effect

Total sleep deprivation


usually only 1 day

Partial sleep deprivation in the 2nd half

of the night




usually only 1 day, longer if repeated

Phase advance of the sleep-wake cycle

3-7 days

1-2 weeks

REM sleep deprivation

2-3 weeks


Temporal isolation

3-14 days

changes with reentrainment

Total sleep deprivation followed by

phase advance


1 day


several days?


Comparison Treatments


Light therapy

3-4 days

1 or more weeks

Antidepressant drugs

10-30 days



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published 2000