Interfaculty Research Cooperation - Decoding Sleep

Sleep subtypes in adolescent depression: Sleep physiology and treatment

Girl using her mobile phone while lying in the bed

The World Health Organization has identified depression as the leading cause of burden of disease amongst young people. To wit, by the time they turn 18 years, about a quarter of teens will have experienced a major depressive (MDD) episode. These depressive episodes are predictive of later mental and physical health outcomes. Subjective sleep complaints are often a core symptom of depression and highly prevalent with 60-90% of depressed adolescents suffering from disrupted sleep. This sleep disruption often takes the form of insomnia (e.g., difficulty falling or staying asleep, or waking too early) or hypersomnia (prolonged sleep episodes or excessive daytime sleepiness). The aim of this project is threefold: (1) to characterize pathophysiology of sleep in adolescent MDD by taking these two sleep subtypes – depression with insomnia versus depression with hypersomnia – into account; (2) test efficacy of non-invasive sleep- and chrono-therapy in adolescents with MDD and; (3) examine whether sleep physiology is predictive of disease course.