A chronotherapeutic approach uniting and combining with sleep deprivation (wake therapy), bright light therapy, and the sleep scheduling, can have lasting benefits for some patients with major depression, suggests a follow-up data from a randomized controlled trial.

This is the first study to show short-term therapy as the awakening to the additional light therapy long-term is an effective and feasible to achieve and maintain remission in patients with depression.

The study involved 75 patients with major depression and lasted for 29 weeks. During a one week in period, all patients received drug therapy. This was followed by a period of one week intervention in which patients were all admitted to a psychiatric ward opened and were randomly assigned to groups of chronotherapy.

During the intervention, the group participated in three therapies awakening interspersed comprehensive nights of recovery sleep and daily morning started light therapy and a Protocol to stabilize their sleep-wake cycle. Patients in the group have practiced for at least 30 minutes every day. All patients were discharged after a week.

In the seven weeks of continuation of the study in the outpatient phase, patients with therapy of awakening continued with light therapy and with sleep stabilization, while the control group of patients the exercises placebo.

The researchers have now reported that both groups responded to adjunctive therapy, but the wake therapy and light had produced a better, larger, stable and statistically significant immediate effect, antidepressant.

Sleep deprivation has been known for decades as the fastest antidepressant known to man for about 40% to 60% of patients with depression: the problem is that as soon as you go back to sleep, depression returns. People have always tried in various ways to keep the antidepressant effect, and the most effective strategies appear to be starting or light therapy in the morning after sleep deprivation and / or advance planning of awakening.