Nocturnal sleep architecture in idiopathic hypersomnia: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Sleep Med. 2018 May:45:17-24. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2017.10.005. Epub 2017 Nov 2.


Background: Current sleep medicine nosology places increased importance on nocturnal polysomnographic sleep recordings in the diagnosis of central nervous system disorders of hypersomnolence, particularly idiopathic hypersomnia (IH).

Objective: Determine what differences in sleep staging and architecture exist between IH and healthy controls using meta-analysis.

Methods: Systematic review identified relevant studies that included nocturnal polysomnography data for IH and healthy control groups. Meta-analysis compared standardized mean differences (Hedge's g) for total sleep time (TST), sleep onset latency (SOL), sleep efficiency (SE), rapid eye movement (REM) sleep percentage, slow wave sleep (SWS) percentage, and REM latency (REML). Moderator analyses were also conducted for variables with significant heterogeneity among studies.

Results: The meta-analysis included 10 studies. Relative to controls, IH demonstrated increased TST (pooled g = 0.92; 95% CI: 0.46 to 1.38, p < 0.0001) and REM percentage (pooled g = 0.36, 95% CI: 0.09 to 0.64, p = 0.01), decreased SOL (pooled g = -0.46; 95% CI: -0.81 to -0.12, p = 0.009) and SWS percentage (pooled g = -0.28, 95% CI: -0.50 to -0.07, p = 0.01), without significant differences in SE (pooled g = 0.03; 95% CI: -0.32 to 0.38, p = 0.86) or REML (pooled g = 0.14, 95% CI: -0.21 to 0.49, p = 0.42). Moderator analysis demonstrated a significant effect of sex on SE, with a higher proportion of women to men significantly predicting lower SE between in IH and controls (p < 0.0001).

Conclusions: IH is associated with several changes in sleep staging and architecture relative to healthy persons, including alterations in REM and SWS not currently delineated in nosological constructs. Further research is indicated to clarify how these findings are related the pathophysiology of IH and related disorders.

Keywords: Hypersomnolence; Idiopathic hypersomnia; Polysomnography; Rapid eye movement; Sleepiness; Slow wave sleep.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Idiopathic Hypersomnia / physiopathology*
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Latency / physiology*
  • Sleep Stages / physiology
  • Sleep, REM / physiology*
  • Time Factors