According to a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry that monitored and analyzed sleep patterns and circadian rhythms in people with schizophrenia, sleep issues more often plague those with schizophrenia than those without the condition. Russel Foster, who was among those involved in the study and circadian and visual neuroscientist at the University of Oxford, said those results suggest that schizophrenia and sleep are more closely connected than previously realized.
The study gives hope that by overcoming insomnia, patients may experience improvements to their schizophrenia symptoms.
About 80 percent of schizophrenia patients also experience problems sleeping, Foster said, but this is usually considered to be a side effect of medication rather than a symptom of the illness itself. “That didn't make too much sense to me.”
Foster and his colleagues realized that people with other mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder and depression, also experience trouble sleeping.
Circadian rhythm is the biological and neural system that keeps our sleep-wake cycles in tune with
darkness and light. Interestingly, the genes linked to circadian rhythm may also be a factor for some of these disorders. For example, a gene called SNAP25 is important in the circadian system, and it is also known to have abnormalities in people who have schizophrenia.
The study completed by Foster and his team involved 20 people with schizophrenia. All were unemployed and had been stable on medication to control their symptoms for at least three months.
Each person was required to wear a movement-detecting wrist watch for a period of six weeks, allowing researchers to analyze when participants were asleep or awake, depending on the amount of motion detected.
Participants we also instructed to keep diaries of their sleep activities, and to fill out questionnaires. They were also required to give urine samples to test for the sleep regulating hormone melatonin.
To compare the results, researchers had 21 mentally healthy controls wear the same watches and keep the same diaries. The healthy controls were also unemployed.
The study revealed that those without schizophrenia kept relatively regular sleeping patterns, while those with schizophrenia had much more difficulty sleeping—and these disruptions had no common pattern. Some would stay up late and sleep in late, while others would get up later and later each day. And the ones who were affected the most had absolutely no sleep-wake pattern at all.
“What became very clear is that they are massively and completely disrupted,” Foster said.
He pointed out that the results were not due to being unemployed, since the individuals in the control group did not experience the same sleep issues.
Each scenario produces an experience which, unless consciously accessed and changed, is integrated into the situational framework in a defacto state of acceptance during integration processing.
This means that the person's execution system will process the new data without discernment. This results in normal cognitive processing generating aberrant outputs to consciousness that is based on the scenario content that the person has...