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Date of Graduation
Master of Arts (MA)
Department of Graduate Psychology
It has been well documented that individuals with depression commonly experience sleep disturbances. Decreased sleep quality, diminished sleep efficiency, and increased nighttime awakenings are all typical ailments. Deficits in cognitive functioning often co-occur, including impairments in working memory, learning, inhibition, and set shifting. Many studies have found that upon taking antidepressants (i.e. serotonin agonists), individuals with depression experience normalized sleep and cognitive performance. The impact of antidepressants, especially SSRIs and SNRIs, on sleep stages, particularly REM and slow wave sleep, has been the subject of numerous studies. However, there is currently very limited literature that examines their impact on sleep quality and no literature examining circadian rhythm entrainment. The purpose of the present study was to extend current literature by exploring the effects of antidepressants, specifically SSRIs and SNRIs, on circadian rhythms, entrainment, and cognitive performance. Participants consisted of JMU graduate students who were either taking antidepressants or not taking antidepressants. All participants wore actigraphs and completed morning and evening sleep journals for two consecutive weeks to measure sleep parameters. Cognitive performance was assessed via the Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics (ANAM). No significant differences in sleep parameters, circadian entrainment, or cognitive performance were found between groups. However, within the antidepressant group, years of antidepressant use and dosage demonstrated predictive qualities for certain cognitive measures, and time of antidepressant use predictive qualities for TST and time spent in bed.
Gilmore, Gabriel, "Antidepressants, circadian rhythms, and cognition: The effects of SSRIs and SNRIs on circadian rhythms and cognitive performance" (2021). Masters Theses, 2020-current. 80.