Mood disorders are characterized by disabling symptoms and cognitive difficulties which may vary in intensity throughout the course of the illness. Sleep–wake cycles and circadian rhythms influence emotional regulation and cognitive functions. However, the relationships between the sleep–wake disturbances experienced commonly by people with mood disorders and the longitudinal changes in their clinical and cognitive profile are not well characterized. This study investigated associations between initial sleep–wake patterns and longitudinal changes in mood symptoms and cognitive functions in 50 young people (aged 13–33 years) with depression or bipolar disorder. Data were based on actigraphy monitoring conducted over approximately 2 weeks and clinical and neuropsychological assessment. As part of a longitudinal cohort study, these assessments were repeated after a mean follow-up interval of 18.9 months. No significant differences in longitudinal clinical changes were found between the participants with depression and those with bipolar disorder. Lower sleep efficiency was predictive of longitudinal worsening in manic symptoms (P = 0.007). Shorter total sleep time (P = 0.043) and poorer circadian rhythmicity (P = 0.045) were predictive of worsening in verbal memory. These findings suggest that some sleep–wake and circadian disturbances in young people with mood disorders may be associated with less favourable longitudinal outcomes, notably for subsequent manic symptoms and memory difficulties.
- affective disorders