Sleep Disturbance in Individuals at Clinical High Risk for Psychosis

Nina Zaks, Tjasa Velikonja, Muhammad A. Parvaz, Jamie Zinberg, Monica Done, Daniel H. Mathalon, Jean Addington, Kristin Cadenhead, Tyrone Cannon, Barbara Cornblatt, Thomas McGlashan, Diana Perkins, William S. Stone, Ming Tsuang, Elaine Walker, Scott W. Woods, Matcheri S. Keshavan, Daniel J. Buysse, Eva Velthorst, Carrie E. Bearden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Introduction: Disturbed sleep is a common feature of psychotic disorders that is also present in the clinical high risk (CHR) state. Evidence suggests a potential role of sleep disturbance in symptom progression, yet the interrelationship between sleep and CHR symptoms remains to be determined. To address this knowledge gap, we examined the association between disturbed sleep and CHR symptoms over time. Methods: Data were obtained from the North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study (NAPLS)-3 consortium, including 688 CHR individuals and 94 controls (mean age 18.25, 46% female) for whom sleep was tracked prospectively for 8 months. We used Cox regression analyses to investigate whether sleep disturbances predicted conversion to psychosis up to >2 years later. With regressions and cross-lagged panel models, we analyzed longitudinal and bidirectional associations between sleep (the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index in conjunction with additional sleep items) and CHR symptoms. We also investigated the independent contribution of individual sleep characteristics on CHR symptom domains separately and explored whether cognitive impairments, stress, depression, and psychotropic medication affected the associations. Results: Disturbed sleep at baseline did not predict conversion to psychosis. However, sleep disturbance was strongly correlated with heightened CHR symptoms over time. Depression accounted for half of the association between sleep and symptoms. Importantly, sleep was a significant predictor of CHR symptoms but not vice versa, although bidirectional effect sizes were similar. Discussion: The critical role of sleep disturbance in CHR symptom changes suggests that sleep may be a promising intervention target to moderate outcome in the CHR state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-121
Number of pages11
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • prodrome
  • psychotic disorders
  • schizophrenia
  • ultra-high risk


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