Short-and long-term sleep stability in insomniacs and healthy controls

Jordan Gaines, Alexandros N. Vgontzas, Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, Maria Basta, Slobodanka Pejovic, Fan He, Edward O. Bixler

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44 Scopus citations


Study Objectives: Assess the short-and long-term stability of sleep duration in patients with insomnia and normal-sleeping controls. Design: Observational short-term and prospective studies. Setting: Sleep laboratory. Participants: Patients with insomnia (n = 150) and controls (n = 151) were recruited from the local community or sleep disorders clinic. A subsample of 95 men from the Penn State Adult Cohort (PSAC) were followed up 2.6 y after their initial visit. Measurements: Participants underwent a physical examination and 8-h polysomnography (PSG) recording for 3 consecutive nights (controls and insomniacs), or 2 single nights separated by several years (PSAC). Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) assessed the stability of the variables total sleep time (TST), sleep onset latency (SOL), and wake after sleep onset (WASO). We also examined persistence of the first-night classification of "short" versus "normal" sleep duration on subsequent nights. Results: Stability of TST, SOL, and WASO based on 1 night were slight to moderate in both patients with insomnia (ICC = 0.370.57) and controls (ICC = 0.390.59), and became substantial to almost perfect when based on the average of 3 nights (ICC = 0.640.81). We observed similar degrees of stability for TST and WASO in the longitudinal sample, with moderate stability based on a single night and substantial stability based on both nights. In examining the persistence of "short" and "normal" sleep duration, 71.4% (controls), 74.7% (patients with insomnia), and 72.6% (longitudinal sample) of participants retained their first-night classifications over subsequent nights. Conclusions: Sleep duration variables, particularly total sleep time based on 3 consecutive nights in both patients with insomnia and controls or two single-night recordings separated by several years, are stable and reflect a person's habitual sleep. Furthermore, a single night in the laboratory may be useful for reliably classifying one's sleep.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1727-1734A
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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