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Alpha sleep & information processing, perception of sleep, pain, & arousability in fibromyalgia (FM)

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By Perlis ML, Giles DE, Bootzin RR, Dikman ZV, Fleming GM, Drummond SP, Rose MW • www.ProHealth.com • February 15, 1997


This study examined the relationship between alpha sleep and
information processing during sleep, perception of sleep,
musculoskeletal pain, and arousability in patients with
fibromyalgia.

Patients (n = 20) were allowed to sleep undisturbed for the first
60 minutes of the study to assess amount of alpha sleep and
were classified as high or low alpha generators based on
quantitative analyses of alpha activity during this period.
The groups were compared for performance on two memory
tasks, perceptions of polysomnographically-defined sleep and
EEG arousals in response to auditory stimuli. Correlations
between symptoms of fibromyalgia and alpha activity were also
examined.

Alpha activity during sleep in fibromyalgic patients was associated
with the perception of shallow sleep and an increased
tendency to arouse in relation to auditory stimuli. Alpha
activity was not associated with increased memory for
auditory stimuli presented during sleep, sleep state
misperception, or with myalgia symptoms. Alpha sleep appears
to be, electrophysiologically, a shallow form of sleep. Our
results suggest that it is perceived as such
phenomenologically and that it is also associated with
increased arousability.




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