Insomnia sufferers can tolerate laboratory REM sleep dream collection and may improve their sleep perception
This project assessed the feasibility of in-lab dream collection in insomnia sufferers which have been limited, considering their reported sleep difficulties and heightened arousal. Eleven insomnia sufferers and 10 good sleepers underwent 5 consecutive polysomnography recording nights including 2 in-lab REM sleep full narrative dream collection. Dream recall frequency and sleep onset latency after each dream collection procedure were calculated. Analyses revealed no group effect (p=.14) for in-lab dream recall frequency (.96 for insomnia sufferers vs. .88 for good sleepers). Groups did not differ (p=.33) on sleep onset latency after dream collection. For sleep perception, insomnia individuals significantly underestimated their total sleep time at home (p≤.03) but not in the lab. Good sleepers correctly estimated their total sleep time at home but underestimated it in lab. For wake after sleep onset, insomnia sufferers correctly estimated it at home but underestimated it in the lab, while good sleepers underestimated it both at home and in the lab (p≤.02). These results suggest that in-lab full length dream collection can be successfully conducted with insomnia sufferers. Interestingly, dream collection also appeared to contribute to the underestimation of wake after sleep onset in insomnia individuals and good sleepers. It might be that externally induced awakenings attenuate the distress related to sleep difficulties especially in insomnia sufferers, since awakenings are attributed to dream collection.