Is quality of sleep related to the N1 and P2 ERPs in chronic psychophysiological insomnia sufferers?

Isabelle Turcotte, Célyne H Bastien
International Journal of Psychophysiology 2009, 72 (3): 314-22

INTRODUCTION: Our recent ERPs study suggested inhibition deficits in addition to cortical arousal in insomnia sufferers (INS) relative to good sleepers (GS). The aim of the present study was to investigate the relation between objective sleep parameters and the amplitudes and latencies of ERPs components N1 and P2 in a multi-assessment protocol.

METHODS: Participants, 15 INS and 16 GS, underwent four consecutive nights of polysomnography recordings (N1 to N4). ERPs in the evening and upon awakening were recorded on N3 and N4, with the addition of sleep-onset recordings on N4. Auditory stimuli consisted of 'standard' and 'deviant' tones. Objective sleep measures were computed on each night [sleep efficiency (SE), wake after sleep onset (WASO), total sleep time (TST) and sleep-onset latency (SOL)]. The amplitude and latency of N1 and P2 components were assessed for each recorded session on each night and related to measures of sleep of the same nights (N3 and N4).

RESULTS: Pearson's correlations between the amplitude and latency of N1 and P2 and objective sleep measures revealed that arousal levels in the evening, before going to bed seem to have an impact on subsequent sleep quality. Furthermore, the sleep quality of the previous night also appeared to have an impact on morning (daily) arousal levels.

CONCLUSION: These results suggest that hyperactivation and inhibition deficits present in insomnia sufferers are directly associated with a poorer sleep quality. This highlights once again that when information processing and/or performance is assessed, the sleep quality of the night preceding the evaluation shall be documented.

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