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Sleep. 1989 Aug;12(4):309-14.

Sleep and nighttime pruritus in children with atopic dermatitis.

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Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Clinic Hospital, Montevideo, Uruguay.


The number of scratching episodes and average frequency with which they started during each sleep stage as well as the effects of nighttime pruritus on objective sleep parameters in nine children with atopic dermatitis were assessed in the sleep laboratory. Scratching episodes occurred during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM (NREM) sleep. The largest average frequency corresponded to stage 1, followed by stage 2, REM sleep, stage 4, and stage 3. Sleep maintenance was markedly altered. Total sleep time decrease was related mainly to smaller amounts of stage 4 NREM sleep. REM sleep percentage of total sleep time was increased as compared with normal children of the same age. Furthermore, in six of nine patients REM sleep latency was found to be decreased.

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