Potassium affects actigraph-identified sleep

Sleep. 1991 Aug;14(4):357-60.


The present study examines the effects of potassium supplementation on sleep quality and phase, as indirectly inferred from wrist actigraphy and sleep logs, in normal young males on a low-potassium diet. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced crossover design compared 1 wk of oral potassium chloride supplements (96 meq/day) to 1 wk of identical placebo capsules. Outcome measures were taken from sleep logs and wrist actigraphy. Sleep was indirectly inferred from wrist-actigraph data using a computer algorithm. Potassium supplementation significantly delayed sleep-log-identified Bedtime (p less than 0.001). Potassium reduced Sleeping Interval for both sleep-log (p less than 0.01) and wrist-actigraph (p less than 0.1) data. Potassium significantly increased actigraphic Sleep Efficiency (p less than 0.05) due to a reduction in actigraphic Wake after Sleep Onset (WASO) (p less than 0.05). No effect of potassium on actigraphic sleep phase was observed. Side effects were minimal and not significantly different between treatment conditions. The results may indicate an improvement in sleep consolidation with potassium supplementation. Further studies using standard polysomnography are required to define potassium's effects on human sleep.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arousal / drug effects*
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Circadian Rhythm / drug effects*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Potassium / administration & dosage*
  • Potassium / blood
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Sleep Stages / drug effects*
  • Sleep Stages / physiology
  • Wakefulness / drug effects
  • Wakefulness / physiology


  • Potassium