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January 1968

Dauerschlaf: A Polygraphic Study

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, and the Sleep and Dream Laboratory, Boston State Hospital, Boston. Dr. Hartmann is a Career Investigator for the National Institute of Mental Health.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;18(1):99-111. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740010101011

THIS STUDY reports on continuous 70 to 96 hour polygraphic recordings from patients undergoing dauerschlaf or prolonged sleep therapy.

Dauerschlaf is frequently employed in many parts of the world, especially eastern Europe, as a treatment for acute psychoses and a number of other conditions. The treatment consists of putting the patient to sleep continuously, or almost continuously, for a prolonged period anywhere from 3 to 15 days. Sleep is induced and maintained by a variety of pharmacological agents. Some form of sleep therapy or rest cure has been used since antiquity and variants of it were quite commonly employed in the 19th century.1 The work of Klaesi in Switzerland, beginning in the 1920's, was responsible for the increasing popularity of dauerschlaf in Europe.2 Klaesi's technique involves ten days of almost constant sleep induced by a mixture of sleep-inducing salts. Since then, almost

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