Establishing the objective sleep phenotype in hypersomnolence disorder with and without comorbid major depression

Sleep. 2019 Jun 11;42(6):zsz060. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsz060.


Study objectives: To clarify whether hypersomnolence disorder is associated with a specific sleep phenotype and altered neurophysiological function in persons with and without hypersomnolence disorder and major depressive disorder (MDD).

Methods: Eighty-three unmedicated persons with and without hypersomnolence disorder and/or MDD underwent ad libitum high-density EEG polysomnography. Clinical and sleep architecture variables were compared between groups. Topographic patterns of slow-wave activity (SWA) relative to healthy controls were compared, with correlations between topographic SWA and daytime sleepiness assessed. Reductions in SWA in hypersomnolence disorder were mapped to specific cortical areas using source localization.

Results: Regardless of the presence or absence of comorbid MDD, persons with hypersomnolence disorder had increased sleep duration relative to both controls and persons with MDD without hypersomnolence. Participants with hypersomnolence disorder also demonstrated reduced bilateral centroparietal low-frequency activity during nonrapid eye movement sleep relative to controls, a pattern not observed in persons with MDD but without hypersomnolence. SWA in these regions was negatively correlated with subjective measures of daytime sleepiness. Source localization demonstrated reductions in SWA in the supramarginal gyrus, somatosensory, and transverse temporal cortex in participants with hypersomnolence disorder.

Conclusions: Hypersomnolence disorder is characterized by increased sleep duration with normal sleep continuity, regardless of the presence or absence of comorbid depression. Reduced local SWA may be a specific neurophysiological finding in hypersomnolence disorder. Further research is warranted to elucidate the mechanisms through which these cortical changes are related to clinical complaints of daytime sleepiness.

Keywords: depression; hypersomnolence; sleepiness; somatosensory; supramarginal gyrus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Waves / physiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / complications
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena*
  • Phenotype
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep, Slow-Wave / physiology*
  • Sleepiness*