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Insomnia symptom severity and dynamics of arousal-related symptoms across the day

Publicatiejaar 2024
Gepubliceerd in Journal of Sleep Research
Auteur(s) Leonie J T Balter, Eus J W van Someren, John Axelsson

Arousal is a central component of many emotional symptoms and can contribute to insomnia. Here we assessed how the timing and fluctuating nature of arousal-related symptoms over the course of the day relate to insomnia symptom severity. In this study, 361 participants (M age = 31.9 years, 282 women, 77 men, 2 non-binary individuals) completed the Insomnia Severity Index to assess severity of insomnia symptoms, followed by repeated ratings of anxiety or nervousness, stress, sleepiness, and feeling down via their mobile phone between ~08:00 hours and 00:00 hours across 1 day. Measures of dynamics included: mean levels across the day; variation (standard deviation); instability (mean squared successive differences); and resistance to change/inertia (first-order autocorrelation). Time-of-day patterns were modelled using generalized additive mixed effects models. Insomnia symptom severity (mean Insomnia Severity Index = 9.1, SD = 5.2, range 0-25) was associated with higher mean levels of all arousal-related symptoms, and increased instability and variation throughout the day in anxiety or nervousness, stress, and feeling down. Resistance to change (inertia) was not associated with insomnia symptom severity. Generalized additive mixed effects analyses showed that while individuals with more severe insomnia symptoms had elevated symptoms across the entire day, they were especially more anxious or nervous and sleepy in the early morning (~08:00 hours), anxious or nervous, stressed and sleepy in the late afternoon/early evening (~16:00 hours-21:00 hours), and anxious or nervous and stressed in the late evening (~22:00 hours). Remarkably, higher arousal occurred in the presence of high subjective sleepiness. Together these results indicate that insomnia symptom severity is associated with problems with daytime and evening arousal regulation.

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