Cognitive Dysfunction in Insomnia Phenotypes: Further Evidence for Different Disorders

Michelle Olaithe, Melissa Ree, Nigel McArdle, Sara Donaldson, Maria Pushpanathan, Peter R Eastwood, Romola S Bucks

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13 Citations (Scopus)
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Study Objectives: To determine cognitive profiles in individuals with short sleep duration insomnia (SSDI) and normal sleep duration insomnia (NSDI; also, paradoxical insomnia), compared to healthy sleepers. Method: Polysomnographic (PSG) and neuropsychological data were analysed from 902 community-based Raine Study participants aged 22 ± 0.6 years of whom 124 met criteria for insomnia (53 with NSDI and 71 with or SSDI) and 246 were classified as healthy with normal sleep (i.e., without insomnia or other sleep disorders). Measurements of self- report (attention and memory) and laboratory-assessed (attention, episodic memory, working memory, learning, and psychomotor function) cognition and mood, and PSG-based sleep stages (% total sleep time; %TST) were compared between these 3 groups. Results: In comparison to the healthy sleeper group, both insomnia groups had poorer self-reported attention, memory, mood, and sleep, and poorer laboratory-assessed attention (inconsistency). The NSDI group had less consistent working memory reaction time than healthy-sleepers or those with SSDI. The SSDI group had more inconsistency in executive function (shifting), and showed greater %TST in stage N1 and N3, and less REM sleep than either healthy-sleepers or those with NSDI. Conclusions: Individuals with NSDI demonstrated greater working memory inconsistency, despite no laboratory assessed sleep problems, implicating early signs of pathophysiology other than disturbed sleep. Those with SSDI demonstrated different sleep architecture, poorer attention (inconsistency), and greater executive function (inconsistency) compared to healthy-sleepers and those with NSDI, implicating sleep disturbance in the disease process of this phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Article number688672
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2021


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