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Int J Neurosci. 1987 Apr;33(3-4):207-14.

Experimental sleep fragmentation in normal subjects.


Recent research has suggested that sleep fragmentation in the absence of sleep loss is an important cause of excessive daytime sleepiness in certain clinical populations (e.g., sleep apnea syndrome or periodic leg movements). This study experimentally varied the number and rate of arousals in sleep to define more clearly the relation of sleep fragmentation and daytime sleepiness. Five male subjects participated in the study. Data from each were recorded for three consecutive nights (one baseline followed by two experimental nights) under three experimental conditions. All nocturnal polysomnograms were followed by a Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) the next day. The experimental conditions consisted of three different schedules of arousal produced by series of tones presented to subjects over headphones. The MSLT showed statistically significant changes after two nights of fragmented sleep, but the three fragmentation schedules did not differ from each other. Arousal threshold also changed significantly with sleep fragmentation from night one to night two.

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