DURING a recent polygraphic study of sleep patterns in patients receiving electric convulsive therapy (ECT),1 we found a statistically significant reduction in both total amount and percent of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep on nights recorded immediately after the final ECT in the series. On the other hand, nights recorded early in the treatment series showed either no change or minor elevations in the REM fraction. These findings were more or less uniform among all members of the group with the exception of a dramatically aberrant response in one patient, the consideration of which led to the formulation of the present study.
The exceptional patient was a paranoid schizophrenic whose sleep patterns were polygraphically monitored over four consecutive baseline nights and showed a total sleep time averaging seven hours, 11 minutes, of which 17.9%, or 77 minutes, were spent in the REM phase. After the eighth ECT in her
Zarcone V, Gulevich G, Pivik T, Dement W. Partial REM Phase Deprivation and Schizophrenia. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;18(2):194-202. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740020066008