Sleep variability across consecutive nights of home monitoring in older mixed DIMS patients

J. D. Edinger, G. R. Marsh, W. V. McCall, C. W. Erwin, A. W. Lininger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Twenty patients with difficulties initiating and maintaining sleep (DIMS) were monitored in their homes for three consecutive nights using ambulatory polysomnography (PSG). Following each night of monitoring, patients provided subjective ratings of sleep disturbance and tolerance of the PSG equipment. Friedman analyses of variance performed on the objective and subjective parameters showed that the sample, as a whole, evidenced no systematic first night effects (FNE) in response to monitoring. Inspection of the data from each individual subject, nevertheless, showed that half of the sample did experience multiple FNE. Further, several scales from the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory discriminated those patients who showed multiple FNE from those who did not. However, far more striking was the finding that clinically and statistically significant intrasubject variability across nights was observed for each sleep parameter measured. Given this finding, a single ambulatory PSG study may not fully convey the nature of the sleep disturbance experienced by the DIMS patient even when FNE are absent. We, thus, recommend multiple ambulatory sleep studies for those clinical and research situations in which it is necessary to document patients' night-to-night sleep variability. In contrast, when the goal of the PSG study is that of determining a sleep diagnosis, a single ambulatory study, in combination with other clinical data, may be sufficient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-17
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • DIMS
  • FNE
  • Older insomnia patients
  • PSG study
  • Sleep disturbance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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