Mechanism of excessive wake time when associated with obstructive sleep apnea or periodic limb movements

J Clin Sleep Med. 2020 Mar 15;16(3):389-399. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.8214. Epub 2020 Jan 14.


Study objectives: It is uncertain whether obstructive apnea (OSA) or periodic limb movements (PLMs) contribute to excessive wake time (EWT) when EWT and these disorders coexist. We hypothesized that such EWT is an independent disorder related to central regulation of sleep depth. Accordingly, we compared sleep depth in patients with EWT and OSA/PLMs (EWT+P) with patients with EWT and no OSA/PLMs (EWT-NP) and patients with a normal wake time.

Methods: A total of 267 participants were divided into five groups: (1) EWT+P: n = 100 (wake time > 20% total recording time; TRT) with OSA (apnea-hypopnea index 5-110 events/h) and/or PLMs (PLM index 10-151 events/h); (2) EWT-NP: n = 49 (wake time > 20%TRT), no associated pathology; (3) normal wake time (NWT)+P: n = 54 (wake time < 20%TRT, with OSA/PLMs); (4) NWT-NP: n = 26; (5) Healthy participants: n = 38 (no sleep complaints, NWT and no OSA/PLMs). Sleep depth was evaluated by the odds ratio product (ORP; 0 = deep sleep, 2.5 = fully alert). We also measured ORP in the 9 seconds immediately following arousals (ORP-9) to distinguish between peripheral and central mechanisms of light sleep.

Results: ORP during sleep was higher (lighter sleep) in both EWT groups than in the three NWT groups (P < 1E-11) with no difference between those with and those without OSA/PLMs. ORP-9 was also significantly higher in the EWT groups than in the NWT groups (P < 1E-19), also with no difference between those with and without OSA/PLMs, indicating that the lighter sleep was of central origin. There were highly significant correlations between wake time and ORP-9 across all groups (P < 1E-35).

Conclusions: EWT associated with OSA/PLMs is independent of OSA/PLMs and related to abnormal central regulation of sleep depth.

Keywords: ORP-9; insomnia with short sleep duration; odds ratio product; sleep depth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural