Psychophysiological reactivity to sleep-related emotional stimuli in primary insomnia

Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Via dei Marsi 78, Rome, Italy.
Behaviour Research and Therapy (Impact Factor: 3.85). 02/2010; 48(6):467-75. DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2010.01.008
Source: PubMed


The present study examined psychophysiological reactivity to emotional stimuli related and non-related to sleep in people with primary insomnia (PPI) and in good sleepers (GS). Twenty-one PPI and 18 GS were presented with five blocks of neutral, negative, positive, sleep-related negative and sleep-related positive pictures. During the presentation of the pictures, facial electromyography (EMG) of the corrugator and the zygomatic muscles, heart rate (HR) and cardiac vagal tone (CVT) were recorded. Subjective ratings of the stimuli were also collected. We found that only PPI exhibited greater inhibition of the corrugator activity in response to sleep-related positive stimuli compared to the other blocks of stimuli. Furthermore, PPI rated the sleep-related negative stimuli as more unpleasant and arousing and showed higher CVT in response to all stimuli as compared to GS. Results were interpreted as indicating that PPI exhibit craving for sleep-related positive stimuli, and also hyper-arousability in response to sleep-related negative stimuli, as compared to GS. Our results suggest that psychological treatment of insomnia could benefit by the inclusion of strategies dealing with emotional processes linked with sleep processes.

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    • "Nevertheless, a sad conclusion to be drawn from the above is that symptoms of insomnia may impede people from remembering the positive aspects of their lives. Although there is an intuitive relationship between emotion and sleep (Baglioni et al., 2010), most studies have used variable-oriented approaches (Bergman & Trost, 2006) when relating measures of affect to sleep measures. For example, the health-related correlates of affect have been studied using the positive and negative affect "
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    ABSTRACT: Patterns of affect, sleep, and autobiographical memories seem related but there are no studies we know of to verify the notion. The purpose of this research is to investigate interrelationships’ between profiles of affect, sleep, and autobiographical memories. A cross-sectional design is employed. Three hundred and thirteen adult students participated. The data generated are viewed from two complementary perspectives. Our cluster analyses identified a group of individual states whose lives appear to be arousing and stressful (high positive and negative affect) yet they slept significantly better than self-destructive states (high on negative affect and low on positive affect). Our regressions imply that negative autobiographical memories are involved in a relationship with sleep independently of fairly stable patterns of affect, biological sex, and age. We finish by noting that apart from investigating these relationships longitudinally, cultural differences in patterns of affect and their health correlates should be explored.
    The Journal of Positive Psychology 07/2013; 8(4):305-313. DOI:10.1080/17439760.2013.800904 · 1.67 Impact Factor
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    • "positive stimuli related to sleep) in participants with primary insomnia and in good sleepers (Baglioni et al. 2010). Those with insomnia showed increased inhibition of the corrugator activity (muscle placed at the medial end of the eyebrow) when presented with sleep-related positive stimuli (i.e., displaying people sleeping in bed at nighttime ), relative to other stimuli. "
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine whether individuals with primary insomnia (PI) have an attentional bias towards insomnia-specific stimuli, relative to normal sleepers (NS). Also, the aim was to determine if the attentional bias was characterized by vigilance or disengagement. A between-groups, matched design was employed. Forty-two individuals completed the study (PI = 21; NS = 21). Participants completed a dot-probe task with stimuli comprising insomnia-specific (fatigue/malaise) and neutral pictures. It was hypothesized that individuals with PI would show greater attentional bias to insomnia-specific stimuli compared with NS. An overall bias effect was noted. This effect was however not due to vigilance; taking into account the reaction times on neutral trials, the PI group and the NS group did not display significantly different results in reaction times to insomnia-specific pictures. On the contrary, the results suggest that the overall bias effect was due to disengagement; the PI group had significantly longer reaction times than the NS group when shifting away from the insomnia-specific pictures, relative to neutral–neutral picture presentations. The findings suggest that individuals with insomnia are not more vigilant than normal sleepers to insomnia-specific stimuli, but instead have greater difficulties in shifting away from such stimuli.
    Cognitive Therapy and Research 06/2013; 37(3). DOI:10.1007/s10608-012-9486-z · 1.70 Impact Factor
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    • "Among women, negative emotions were related to increased pre-sleep arousal while for men, the degree of perceived control over sleep was related to increased pre-sleep arousal. While previous work has found a greater tendency toward rumination among women than men, it may not be rumination itself that is associated with hyperarousal, but the emotional impact of rumination or maladaptive cognitions [9] [18] [32]. Conversely, the present findings indicate that in men, excessive thinking about one's control over sleep may induce hyperarousal at bedtime. "
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    ABSTRACT: Elevated pre-sleep arousal has been consistently associated with insomnia, yet the cognitive-emotional mechanisms involved in sleep-related arousal remain unclear. The purpose of this study was to identify predictors of pre-sleep arousal and trait hyperarousal from a set of variables that included self-reported affect, sleep-related cognitions, locus of control, and gender. Cross-sectional data were analyzed for 128 participants (89 females) who met criteria for psychophysiological insomnia and completed a set of questionnaires that included the Beliefs and Attitudes about Sleep (BAS), Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (Negative Subscale (nPANAS) and Positive Subscale (pPANAS)), Sleep Locus of Control (SLOC), Pre-Sleep Arousal Scale (PSAS), Hyperarousal Scale (HAS) and demographic information. Step-wise regression was conducted with a set of independent variables, with PSAS and HAS serving as separate dependent variables. Trait hyperarousal was associated with higher levels of both negative and positive emotionality, as well as negative beliefs about sleep, in both genders. Pre-sleep arousal was associated with greater negative emotionality and internal sleep locus of control, varying by gender. Among women, high pre-sleep arousal was associated with negative emotionality, while in men greater pre-sleep arousal was associated with an internal sleep locus of control. These findings have clinical implications, suggesting that men and women may require different cognitive targets when addressing pre-sleep arousal.
    Journal of psychosomatic research 04/2013; 74(4):283-9. DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2013.01.014 · 2.74 Impact Factor
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