A Czech study evaluated the effect of the psychedelic antidepressant psilocybin on sleep architecture and neuroplasticity. In healthy controls, a single administration of psilocybin enhanced REM sleep latency, increased subjective sleep latency, and decreased slow-wave activity expression.
Both disturbances of sleep and poor concentration or indecisiveness are symptoms associated with depression . On a neurobiological level, depression is associated with disturbed neuroplasticity and synaptic dysconnectivity . The serotonergic agonist psilocybin is a psychedelic with antidepressant potential . Additional to its antidepressant properties, psilocybin may modify sleep quality via induction of neuroplasticity.
Dr Tomas Palenicek (National Institute of Mental Health, Czech Republic) and colleagues hypothesised that psilocybin, similar to other classical antidepressants, would reduce REM sleep and prolong REM sleep latency the night after its administration . Moreover, they hypothesised that psilocybin would promote slow-wave activity expression in the first sleep cycle, as a marker of sleep-related neuroplasticity. This was tested in 20 healthy volunteers who underwent 2 drug administration sessions of either psilocybin (0.26 mg/kg) or placebo in a randomised, double-blind design.
All participants mentioned a profound psychedelic experience and positive effects on mood and well-being after psilocybin administration. The study results revealed a prolonged REM sleep latency after psilocybin administration and a trend toward a decrease in overall REM sleep duration. No changes in non-REM sleep were observed. Psilocybin administration did not affect EEG power spectra in non-REM or REM sleep when examined across the whole night. In addition, and contrary to the hypothesis, psilocybin did not promote but rather suppressed slow-wave activity in the first sleep cycle. So, no evidence was found for sleep-related neuroplasticity induced by psilocybin.
“Overall, this study suggests that potential antidepressant properties of psilocybin might be related to changes in sleep quality. However, the results do not support a role for psilocybin in changes in neuroplasticity,” concluded Dr Palenicek.
- Riemann D, et al. Neuropsychopharmacol. 2020;45:74–89.
- Abdallah CG, et al. Annu Rev Med. 2015;66:509–523.
- Carhart-Harris R, et al. N Eng J Med. 2021;384:1402–1411.
- Palenicek T, et al. The effects of daytime psilocybin administration on sleep: implications for antidepressant action. Abstract S03.04, ECNP Congress 2022, 15–18 October, Vienna, Austria.
Copyright ©2022 Medicom Medical Publishers
« Both sex hormones and serotonin play a role in peripartum mental health Next Article
Fast and sustained effect of 2 administrations of psilocybin on depression »
Table of Contents: ECNP 2022
Letter from the Editor
Zuranolone shows rapid-acting efficacy in postpartum depression
Probiotics could reduce perceived stress
KarXT is effective in schizophrenic patients experiencing acute psychosis
Low-dose ulipristal acetate is an effective treatment for PMDD
Endogenous oxytocin release helps the mind to deal with pain
Nitric oxide synthase genetic variant is a risk factor for suicidal behaviour
Early-life gut microbiota depletion changes brain morphology and behaviour
Treating intrusive memories after trauma in healthcare workers using Tetris
VR exposure as effective as in vivo exposure for phobia
Efficacy of smartphone-based treatment of bipolar disorders not (yet) validated
Mode of action of psilocybin
Fast and sustained effect of 2 administrations of psilocybin on depression
Antidepressant properties of psilocybin might be related to changes in sleep
Both sex hormones and serotonin play a role in peripartum mental health
Child loss induces short- and long-term neurobiological changes
Reproductive state matters when looking at the female brain and drug treatment effects
Different brain responses to fat and/or sugar
Diabetes not related to abnormal biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease
Oxytocin treatment induces long-lasting neurobiological adaptations in autism
Letter from the Editor