Using chronotherapy to treat severe sleep problems: A case study

Cathleen C. Piazza, Louis P. Hagopian, Colleen R. Hughes, Wayne W. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Chronotherapy was used to treat severe sleep problems (irregular sleep onset times, frequent night and early wakings, and short total sleep times) in a girl with mental retardation. Chronotherapy involved systematically delaying the child's bedtime each night while maintaining a regular schedule during waking hours until an age-appropriate bedtime was achieved. Immediate improvements in the child's sleep pattern were observed with the introduction of treatment, and an age-appropriate bedtime was achieved in 11 days. Four months of follow-up data indicated that improvements maintained in the home. Although chronotherapy was developed specifically for adults with delayed sleep phase insomnia, the current results suggest that the treatment may be useful for other populations and problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)358-366
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal on Mental Retardation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Rehabilitation
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • General Health Professions


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