Sleep homeostasis in alcohol-dependent, depressed and healthy control men
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- Brower, K.J., Hoffmann, R., Conroy, D.A. et al. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci (2011) 261: 559. doi:10.1007/s00406-011-0195-5
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Visually scored and power spectral analyses (PSA) of polysomnography (PSG) recordings reveal abnormalities in alcohol dependence (AD) and major depressive disorder (MDD), including deficiencies in slow wave activity (SWA) during non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. SWA parameters reflect the integrity of the homeostatic sleep drive, which have not been compared in those with AD or MDD. Ten men with AD were compared with 10 men with MDD and 10 healthy controls (HCs), all aged 20–40 years. They maintained an 11 pm to 6 am sleep schedule for 5–7 days, followed by 3 consecutive nights of PSG in the laboratory: night 1 for adaptation/screening; night 2 for baseline recordings; and night 3 as the challenge night, delaying sleep until 2 am. SWA was quantified with PSA across 4 NREM periods. Men with AD generated the least SWA at baseline. In response to sleep delay, HC men showed the expected SWA enhancement and a sharper exponential decline across NREM periods. Both the MDD and the AD groups showed a significantly blunted SWA response to sleep delay. Men with MDD had the least SWA in the first NREM period (impaired accumulation of sleep drive), whereas men with AD had the slowest SWA decay rate (impaired dissipation of sleep drive). These results suggest that both SWA generation and its homeostatic regulation are impaired in men with either AD or MDD. Finding interventions that selectively improve these different components of sleep homeostasis should be a goal of treatment for AD and MDD.