A comparison of electrophysiological changes during the sleep onset period of psychophysiological insomniacs, psychiatric insomniacs and normal sleepers
Lamarche, Carole H.
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The EEG of the sleep onset period of psychophysiological insomniacs, psychiatric insomniacs and controls was compared using power spectral analysis (FFT). Eighteen drug-free subjects were equally divided into three groups according to their responses in the Brock Sleep and Insomnia Questionnaire, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and the Sleep Disorders Questionnaire. Group 1 consisted of psychophysiological insomniacs, group 2 included insomniacs with an indication of psychiatric disturbances, and group 3 was a control group. EEG, EOG and EMG were recorded for two consecutive nights. Power spectral analysis (FFT) of EEG at C4 from the sleep onset period (defined as lights out to the first five minutes of stage 2) was performed on all standard frequency bands, delta: .5-4 Hz; theta: 4-8 Hz; alpha: 8-12 Hz; sigma: 12-15 Hz beta: 15-25 Hz. Psychophysiological insomniacs had less alpha during wakefulness than the other two groups and did not show the dramatic drop in alpha across the sleep onset period, which characterizes normal sleep. They also had less delta, especially during stage 2 on night 2. They also showed less delta in the last quartile of the chronological analysis of the sleep onset period. Psychiatric insomniacs showed lower relative beta power values overall while psychophysiological insomniacs showed higher relative beta power values during wakefulness. This microanalysis 11 confirms that the sleep onset period is generally similar for psychiatric insomniacs and normal sleepers. This may be due to the sample of psychiatric insomniacs being heterogeneous or may reflect a sleep onset system that is essentially intact. Psychophysiological insomniacs have higher cortical arousal during the sleep onset period than do the psychiatric insomniacs and the controls. Clear differences in the sleep onset period of psychophysiological insomniacs exist. The dramatic changes in power values in these two groups are not seen in the psychophysiological insomniacs, which may make the discrimination between wakefulness and sleep more difficult.