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J Psychiatr Res. 2001 May-Jun;35(3):165-72.

The first-night effect may last more than one night.

Author information

1
Sleep Center, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Brugmann, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium. lebono@ulb.ac.be

Abstract

The first-night effect in sleep polysomnographic studies is usually considered to last for one night. However, a few observations have indicated that variables associated to rapid eye movement sleep take longer to stabilize. Notwithstanding, current opinion holds that second nights of recording can be used without restriction for research and clinical purposes. The goal of this study was to describe the dynamics of habituation to polysomnography in optimal conditions. Twenty-six young, carefully screened, healthy subjects were recorded in their home for four consecutive full polysomnographies. Repeated measures ANOVA were applied. Between the two first nights, while there were no differences in sleep duration in non-rapid eye movement sleep, marked modifications in corresponding spectral power were observed. The dynamics of adaptation of rapid eye movement sleep appeared to be a process extending up to the fourth night. Similar dynamics in NREMS and REMS homeostasis have been observed in sleep deprivation studies, and it appears that the same mechanisms may be responsible for the FNE. The longer habituation process of REMS in particular has important implications for sleep research in psychiatry.

PMID:
11461712
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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