Do our methods lead to insomniacs’ madness?: Daytime testing after laboratory and home-based polysomnographic studies
Complaints of daytime dysfunction are common among chronic insomniacs, but laboratory comparisons of insomniacs and age-matched and gender-matched normal controls have generally failed to document these complaints. However, a few studies, which allowed subjects to sleep in their homes on the nights before daytime testing, have shown some relative diurnal deficits among insomniacs. The current study compared the effects of nocturnal laboratory and home polysomnogram (PSG) studies on subsequent daytime test results among older insomniacs and normal sleepers. Insomniacs (n = 32) and normal sleepers (n = 32) were randomly assigned to first undergo three nights of nocturnal PSG monitoring either in the sleep laboratory (16 insomniacs, 16 normal sleepers) or in their homes (16 insomniacs, 16 normal sleepers). Following the third night of PSG monitoring, subjects spent 1 day in the sleep laboratory, where they completed a four-trial multiple sleep latency test along with four trials of a computer-administered performance test battery. Results showed that insomniacs, as a group, were slightly, albeit consistently, sleepier than were normal sleepers following nights of home sleep monitoring, but a reverse of this trend was found among subjects who underwent nocturnal laboratory PSG before daytime testing. Furthermore, normal sleepers showed faster reaction times on a signal detection task than did insomniacs within the subgroup who underwent home PSGs prior to such testing. However, within the subgroup that underwent nocturnal laboratory PSGs, insomniacs' signal detection reaction times were significantly faster than those shown by normal sleepers. Results provide some support for the speculation that the nocturnal PSG monitoring site, used as a precursor to daytime testing, may systematically affect daytime comparisons between insomniacs and matched controls. Moreover, these results suggest that the use of home-based nocturnal PSG monitoring prior to daytime testing may provide an enhanced understanding of insomniacs' diurnal complaints.