Daytime symptoms in primary insomnia: a prospective analysis using ecological momentary assessment

Sleep Med. 2007 Apr;8(3):198-208. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2006.10.006. Epub 2007 Mar 23.


Objectives: To prospectively characterize and compare daytime symptoms in primary insomnia (PI) and good sleeper control (GSC) subjects using ecological momentary assessment; to examine relationships between daytime symptom factors, retrospective psychological and sleep reports, and concurrent sleep diary reports.

Methods: Subjects included 47 PI and 18 GSC. Retrospective self-reports of daytime and sleep symptoms were collected. Daytime symptoms and sleep diary information were then collected for 1 week on hand-held computers. The Daytime Insomnia Symptom Scale (DISS) consisted of 19 visual analog scales completed four times per day. Factors for the DISS were derived using functional principal components analysis. Nonparametric tests were used to contrast DISS, retrospective symptom ratings, and sleep diary results in PI and GSC subjects, and to examine relationships among them.

Results: Four principal components were identified for the DISS: Alert Cognition, Negative Mood, Positive Mood, and Sleepiness/Fatigue. PI scored significantly worse than GSC on all four factors (p<0.0003 for each). Among PI subjects DISS scales and retrospective psychological symptoms were related to each other in plausible ways. DISS factors were also related to self-report measures of sleep, whereas retrospective psychological symptom measures were not.

Conclusions: Daytime symptom factors of alertness, positive and negative mood, and sleepiness/fatigue, collected with ecological momentary assessment, showed impairment in PI versus GSC. DISS factors showed stronger relationships to retrospective sleep symptoms and concurrent sleep diary reports than retrospective psychological symptoms. The diurnal pattern of symptoms may inform studies of the pathophysiology and treatment outcome of insomnia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Arousal*
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Computers, Handheld*
  • Data Collection / statistics & numerical data
  • Fatigue / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Self Disclosure
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / psychology
  • Social Environment*
  • Wakefulness*