Evidence of objective sleep impairment in non-epileptic attack disorder: A naturalistic prospective controlled study using actigraphy and daily sleep diaries over six nights

Saafi Mousa, Gary Latchford, Anna Weighall, Hannah Nash, Rebecca Murray-Leslie, Markus Reuber, Samuel D. Relton, Christopher D. Graham

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Abstract

Poor sleep is reported by many with nonepileptic attack disorder (NEAD) with correlations evident between self-reported sleep quality and mood and functional impairment. However, it is contended that self-reported sleep impairment in NEAD is a subjective phenomenon, which represents a general tendency to over-report symptoms or misinterpret bodily states in those with NEAD. The present study was therefore designed to investigate the extent of subjective and objective sleep impairments in those with NEAD. Over six nights we prospectively recorded comparable nightly objective (actigraphy) and subjective (consensus sleep diary) sleep parameters in a sample of 17 people with NEAD, and an age- and gender-matched normative control group (N = 20). Participants recorded daily measures of attacks, dissociation, and mood. Alongside higher subjective sleep impairment, the NEAD group had significantly worse objective sleep on several metrics compared to the normative controls, characterized by disrupted sleep (frequent awakenings and wake after sleep onset, low efficiency). Exploratory analyses using mixed effects models showed that attacks were more likely to occur on days preceded by longer, more restful sleep. This study, which had good ecological validity, evidences the presence of objective sleep impairment in NEAD, suggesting that in patient reports of problems with sleep should be given careful consideration in clinical practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107867
JournalEpilepsy & behavior : E&B
Volume117
Early online date05 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2021

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