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Sleep Med. 2010 Feb;11(2):172-9. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2008.12.018. Epub 2009 Dec 14.

REM sleep characteristics of nightmare sufferers before and after REM sleep deprivation.

Author information

1
Dream and Nightmare Laboratory, Centre détude du sommeil, Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal, 5400 boul. Gouin Ouest, Montréal, Que., Canada H4J1C5. tore.nielsen@umontreal.ca

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To examine whether disrupted regulation of REM sleep propensity is implicated in nightmare (NM) pathophysiology.

BACKGROUND:

Heightened REM propensity induced by REM sleep deprivation is belied by increases in REM %, REM density and the dream-like quality of dream mentation during post-deprivation recovery sleep. Compromised regulation of REM sleep propensity may be a contributing factor in the pathophysiology of frequent NMs.

METHODS:

A preliminary study of 14 subjects with frequent NMs (> or = 1 NM/week; 27.6+/-9.9 years) and 11 healthy control subjects (<1 NM/month; 24.3+/-5.3 years) was undertaken. Subjects completed home sleep/dream logs and underwent three nights of polysomnographic recording with REM sleep deprivation on night 2. Group differences were assessed for a battery of REM sleep and dream measures on nights 1 and 3.

RESULTS:

Several measures, including #skipped early-night REM periods, REM latency, REM/NREM cycle length, early/late REM density, REM rebound, late-night REM% and dream vividness, suggested that REM sleep propensity was abnormally low for the frequent NM group throughout the 3-day study.

CONCLUSIONS:

Findings raise the possibility that REM anomalies recorded from NM sufferers sleeping in the laboratory environment reflect a disruption of one or more endogenous regulators of REM sleep propensity.

PMID:
20005773
DOI:
10.1016/j.sleep.2008.12.018
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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