You'll feel better in the morning: slow wave activity and overnight mood regulation in interepisode bipolar disorder

Psychol Med. 2018 Jan;48(2):249-260. doi: 10.1017/S0033291717001581. Epub 2017 Jun 19.


Background: Sleep disturbances are prominent correlates of acute mood episodes and inadequate recovery in bipolar disorder (BD), yet the mechanistic relationship between sleep physiology and mood remains poorly understood. Using a series of pre-sleep mood inductions and overnight sleep recording, this study examined the relationship between overnight mood regulation and a marker of sleep intensity (non-rapid eye movement sleep slow wave activity; NREM SWA) during the interepisode phase of BD.

Methods: Adults with interepisode BD type 1 (BD; n = 20) and healthy adult controls (CTL; n = 23) slept in the laboratory for a screening night, a neutral mood induction night (baseline), a happy mood induction night, and a sad mood induction night. NREM SWA (0.75-4.75 Hz) was derived from overnight sleep EEG recordings. Overnight mood regulation was evaluated using an affect grid pleasantness rating post-mood induction (pre-sleep) and the next morning.

Results: Overnight mood regulation did not differ between groups following the sad or happy inductions. SWA did not significantly change for either group on the sad induction night compared with baseline. In BD only, SWA on the sad night was related to impaired overnight negative mood regulation. On the happy induction night, SWA increased relative to baseline in both groups, though SWA was not related to overnight mood regulation for either group.

Conclusions: These findings indicate that SWA disruption may play a role in sustaining negative mood state from the previous night in interepisode BD. However, positive mood state could enhance SWA in bipolar patients and healthy adults.

Keywords: Bipolar disorder; mood regulation; polysomnography; sleep.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Bipolar Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Brain Waves / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography / methods*
  • Self-Control
  • Sleep Stages / physiology*
  • Young Adult