JOURNAL ARTICLE

EEG spectral analysis of NREM sleep in a large sample of patients with insomnia and good sleepers: effects of age, sex and part of the night

Vladimir Svetnik, Ellen S Snyder, Junshui Ma, Peining Tao, Christopher Lines, William Joseph Herring
Journal of Sleep Research 2017, 26 (1): 92-104
27634437
Previous studies of the differences between patients with insomnia and good sleepers with regard to quantitative electroencephalographic measures have mostly utilized small samples and consequently had limited ability to account for potentially important confounding factors of age, sex and part of the night. We conducted a power spectral analysis using a large database of sleep electroencephalographic recordings to evaluate differences between patients with insomnia (N = 803) and good sleepers (N = 811), while simultaneously accounting for these factors and their interaction. Comparisons of power as a function of age and part of the night were made between cohorts (patients with insomnia versus good sleepers) by sex. Absolute power in the delta, theta and sigma bands declined with age for both females and males. Females had significantly greater power than males at all ages, and for each band, cohort and part of the night. These sex differences were much greater than differences between patients with insomnia and good sleepers. Compared with good sleepers, patients with insomnia under age 40-45 years had reduced delta band power during Part 1 of the night. Females with insomnia over age 45 years had increased delta and theta band power in Parts 2 and 3 of the night, and males with insomnia under age 40 years had reduced theta power in Part 1. Females with insomnia had increased beta2 power in all parts of the night, and males with insomnia had reduced alpha power during all parts of the night. Relative power (the proportion that an individual frequency band contributes to the total power) decreased in the delta band and increased in all other bands with age for both cohorts, sexes and all parts of the night. This analysis provides a unique resource for quantitative information on the differences in power spectra between patients with insomnia and good sleepers accounting for age, sex and part of the night.

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