, Volume 190, Issue 4, pp 507-516
Date: 05 Jan 2007

Effects of olanzapine, risperidone and haloperidol on sleep after a single oral morning dose in healthy volunteers

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To compare the effects of typical and atypical antipsychotic drugs on sleep activity and subjective sleep quality.


Randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, four-period cross-over, clinical trial was used to evaluate the effects of active treatments on objective and subjective sleep variables.


Sleep laboratory evaluation.


Twenty healthy young volunteers, both sexes.


Single oral morning administrations of olanzapine 5 mg, risperidone 1 mg, haloperidol 3 mg and placebo.

Measurements and results

Five polysomnographic nights were evaluated: one control night and one after each intervention. Significant increase in total sleep time, sleep efficiency, slow wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep with decreases in wake time were observed after olanzapine. Decreases in wake time, REM sleep and stage shifts together with increases in stage 2 were obtained after risperidone. Haloperidol showed only a tendency to increase sleep efficiency and stage 2 and to decrease wake time. Olanzapine showed decreases in power density in frequencies higher than 10 Hz during all sleep stages and in frequencies lower than 5 Hz range in SWS; decreases in the dynamics of spindle frequency activity (SFA) in the second and fourth non-rapid eye movement (NREM) episodes were also obtained. Risperidone presented increases in the 3.6–10.8 Hz frequency range in NREM sleep stages and in stage 2. Haloperidol also showed increases in NREM sleep stages and in stage 2, but these were in frequencies higher than 10 Hz, with increases in the dynamics of SFA in the first NREM episode. Only a significant improvement in subjective sleep quality was observed after olanzapine.


Antipsychotics showed different sleep changes as their neurochemical profiles were distinct. These changes were observed even when the drug was administered 15 h before going to bed.