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Sleep disturbances are prominent correlates of acute mood episodes and inadequate recovery in bipolar disorder (BD), yet the mechanistic relationship between sleep physiology and mood remains poorly understood. Using a series of pre-sleep mood inductions and overnight sleep recording, this study examined the relationship between overnight mood regulation and a marker of sleep intensity (non-rapid eye movement sleep slow wave activity; NREM SWA) during the interepisode phase of BD.
Adults with interepisode BD type 1 (BD; n = 20) and healthy adult controls (CTL; n = 23) slept in the laboratory for a screening night, a neutral mood induction night (baseline), a happy mood induction night, and a sad mood induction night. NREM SWA (0.75–4.75 Hz) was derived from overnight sleep EEG recordings. Overnight mood regulation was evaluated using an affect grid pleasantness rating post-mood induction (pre-sleep) and the next morning.
Overnight mood regulation did not differ between groups following the sad or happy inductions. SWA did not significantly change for either group on the sad induction night compared with baseline. In BD only, SWA on the sad night was related to impaired overnight negative mood regulation. On the happy induction night, SWA increased relative to baseline in both groups, though SWA was not related to overnight mood regulation for either group.
These findings indicate that SWA disruption may play a role in sustaining negative mood state from the previous night in interepisode BD. However, positive mood state could enhance SWA in bipolar patients and healthy adults.
Though poorly defined, hypersomnia is associated with negative health outcomes and new-onset and recurrence of psychiatric illness. Lack of definition impedes generalizability across studies. The present research clarifies hypersomnia diagnoses in bipolar disorder by exploring possible subgroups and their relationship to prospective sleep data and relapse into mood episodes.
A community sample of 159 adults (aged 18–70 years) with bipolar spectrum diagnoses, euthymic at study entry, was included. Self-report inventories and clinician-administered interviews determined features of hypersomnia. Participants completed sleep diaries and wore wrist actigraphs at home to obtain prospective sleep data. Approximately 7 months later, psychiatric status was reassessed. Factor analysis and latent profile analysis explored empirical groupings within hypersomnia diagnoses.
Factor analyses confirmed two separate subtypes of hypersomnia (‘long sleep’ and ‘excessive sleepiness’) that were uncorrelated. Latent profile analyses suggested a four-class solution, with ‘long sleep’ and ‘excessive sleepiness’ again representing two separate classes. Prospective sleep data suggested that the sleep of ‘long sleepers’ is characterized by a long time in bed, not long sleep duration. Longitudinal assessment suggested that ‘excessive sleepiness’ at baseline predicted mania/hypomania relapse.
This study is the largest of hypersomnia to include objective sleep measurement, and refines our understanding of classification, characterization and associated morbidity. Hypersomnia appears to be comprised of two separate subgroups: long sleep and excessive sleepiness. Long sleep is characterized primarily by long bedrest duration. Excessive sleepiness is not associated with longer sleep or bedrest, but predicts relapse to mania/hypomania. Understanding these entities has important research and treatment implications.
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