Sleep in the completely locked-in state (CLIS) in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Sleep. 2019 Dec 24;42(12):zsz185. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsz185.


Persons in the completely locked-in state (CLIS) suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are deprived of many zeitgebers of the circadian rhythm: While cognitively intact, they are completely paralyzed, eyes mostly closed, with artificial ventilation and artificial nutrition, and social communication extremely restricted or absent. Polysomnographic recordings in eight patients in CLIS, however, revealed the presence of regular episodes of deep sleep during night time in all patients. It was also possible to distinguish an alpha-like state and a wake-like state. Classification of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is difficult because of absent eye movements and absent muscular activity. Four out of eight patients did not show any sleep spindles. Those who have spindles also show K-complexes and thus regular phases of sleep stage 2. Thus, despite some irregularities, we found a surprisingly healthy sleep pattern in these patients.

Keywords: circadian rhythms; completely locked-in state; movement disorders; neurological disorders; polysomnography; sleep/wake physiology.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / diagnosis
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / therapy
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Locked-In Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Locked-In Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Locked-In Syndrome / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography / methods
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep, Slow-Wave / physiology
  • Young Adult