Pathophysiological models of insomnia invoke the concept of 24-hour hyperarousal, which could lead to symptoms and physiological findings during waking and sleep. We hypothesized that this arousal could be seen in the waking electroencephalogram (EEG) of individuals with primary insomnia (PI), and that waking EEG power would correlate with non-REM (NREM) EEG.
Subjects included 50 PI and 32 good sleeper controls (GSC). Five minutes of eyes closed waking EEG were collected at subjects' usual bedtimes, followed by polysomnography (PSG) at habitual sleep times. An automated algorithm and visual editing were used to remove artifacts from waking and sleep EEGs, followed by power spectral analysis to estimate power from 0.5–32 Hz.
We did not find significant differences in waking or NREM EEG spectral power of PI and GSC. Significant correlations between waking and NREM sleep power were observed across all frequency bands in the PI group and in most frequency bands in the GSC group.
The absence of significant differences between groups in waking or NREM EEG power suggests that our sample was not characterized by a high degree of cortical arousal. The consistent correlations between waking and NREM EEG power suggest that, in samples with elevated NREM EEG beta activity, waking EEG power may show a similar pattern.
Wu YM; Pietrone R; Cashmere JD; Begley A; Miewald JM; Germain A; Buysse DJ. EEG power during waking and NREM sleep in primary insomnia. J Clin Sleep Med 2013;9(10):1031-1037.