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Circadian Phase Assessments at Home

This study has been completed.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Helen Burgess, Rush University Medical Center Identifier:
First received: December 2, 2011
Last updated: April 10, 2017
Last verified: April 2017

An estimated 23 million Americans, including adolescents and the elderly, suffer from circadian rhythm sleep disorders, such as delayed sleep phase disorder, advanced sleep phase disorder and winter depression. These conditions are characterized by persistent insomnia and/or excessive daytime sleepiness, impaired performance, reduced well being and lower quality of life. The negative symptoms result from a misalignment between the timing of sleep and the internal circadian clock. Clinical research has demonstrated that circadian rhythm sleep disorders are most effectively diagnosed (differentiated from other causes of insomnia) and treated if each individual patient's circadian phase is known. The timing of the master internal circadian clock is most reliably measured from the onset of the endogenous circadian rhythm of melatonin, a neuroendocrine hormone, as measured in dim light (dim light melatonin onset, or "DLMO"). However to date the reliable and valid assessment of the DLMO is limited to the research laboratory setting.

This study is to test a streamlined procedure for the accurate assessment of circadian phase (DLMO) outside of the laboratory that will provide clinicians and researchers with a novel diagnostic and research tool. In this way the underlying neurobiological cause of a patient's insomnia and/or circadian rhythm disorder can more readily be diagnosed and treated.

Specific Aim 1 is to validate procedures for at-home circadian phase assessment in a sample of healthy people. Validation will occur by (1) objectively measuring compliance to the at-home procedures and (2) comparing DLMOs collected at home to DLMOs collected in the laboratory, in a within-subjects counterbalanced design. Specific Aim 2 is to validate the same at home procedures in patients with delayed sleep phase disorder. Specific Aim 3 is to conduct rigorous analyses to inform future users which subject characteristics and light levels predict (1) compliance to the at home procedures and (2) valid at-home DLMOs.

The results of this 3 year study will have substantial implications for the translation of basic and clinical research to the community: (1) the diagnosis and treatment of insomnia and circadian rhythm sleep disorders will be significantly enhanced, thus improving public health and safety, mood and quality of life, (2) community participation in research will be improved, particularly in vulnerable and under represented populations, thus increasing scientific knowledge and (3) research and clinical costs will be substantially reduced.

Condition Intervention
Healthy Controls Delayed Sleep Phase Behavioral: At home saliva sampling

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single (Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Diagnostic

Further study details as provided by Helen Burgess, Rush University Medical Center:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Dim Light Melatonin Onset [ Time Frame: 9 days ]
    The DLMO is assessed twice at home and twice in the laboratory.

Enrollment: 73
Study Start Date: December 2011
Study Completion Date: May 2015
Primary Completion Date: December 2014 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Active Comparator: Healthy Controls Behavioral: At home saliva sampling
Saliva samples taken every half an hour in evening before bedtime.
Active Comparator: Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder Behavioral: At home saliva sampling
Saliva samples taken every half an hour in evening before bedtime.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 69 Years   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Healthy adult volunteers or people with Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Color blindness with the Ishihara test
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01487252

United States, Illinois
Rush University Medical Center
Chicago, Illinois, United States, 60612
Sponsors and Collaborators
Rush University Medical Center
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
  More Information

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
Responsible Party: Helen Burgess, Professor, Rush University Medical Center Identifier: NCT01487252     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: AT007104
Study First Received: December 2, 2011
Last Updated: April 10, 2017 processed this record on September 21, 2017