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Morning light therapy in adults with Tourette’s disorder



Sleep disturbance is common among individuals with Tourette's Disorder (TD). Given that sleep is influenced by the circadian system, this study examined circadian rhythms and sleep in adults with TD, and explored the possible benefit of short-wavelength wearable morning light therapy.


Participants were 34 adults with TD (n = 14) and age- and sex-matched healthy controls (HC; n = 20). Participants were screened using clinician-rated diagnostic and tic severity interviews, and procedures lasted 3 consecutive weeks. Participants completed a baseline week of actigraphy. Adults with TD completed 2 weeks of Re-Timer™ morning light therapy and continued actigraphy monitoring. Dim light melatonin-onset (DLMO) phase assessment, tic severity interview, and measures of chronotype, sleep disturbance, daytime sleepiness, disability, depression, anxiety, and stress were completed at baseline and post-intervention.


Adults with TD reported significantly greater eveningness and sleep disturbance relative to controls. Per wrist actigraphy, adults with TD exhibited significantly longer sleep-onset latency, lower sleep efficiency, and greater sleep fragmentation than HC. Following morning light therapy, there was a significant advance in DLMO phase, but not self-report or actigraphy sleep variables. There were small, statistically significant decreases in tic severity and impairment. There were also significant reductions in daytime sleepiness, and self-reported anxiety, but not depression, stress, or disability. Participants reported minimal side effects and rated light therapy as acceptable and comfortable.


Findings showed some benefits following brief light therapy in TD; further exploration of the impact of spectral tuning the photic environment as part of treatment for TD subjects is warranted.

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