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Increased Nocturnal Activity Associated With Adverse Childhood Experiences in Patients With Primary Insomnia

Bader, Klaus PhD*; Schäfer, Valérie MSc*; Schenkel, Maya MSc*; Nissen, Lukas MSc*; Kuhl, Hans-Christian MSc*; Schwander, Jürg MD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: July 2007 - Volume 195 - Issue 7 - p 588-595
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e318093ed00
Original Article

The present study examined to what extent adverse childhood experiences (ACE), in addition to demographic characteristics, current level of stress, depression, and arousability predisposition, are associated with sleep measures in adult insomnia. Thirty-nine adults suffering from primary insomnia completed self-report questionnaires assessing ACE, current level of stress, predisposition towards increased arousability, and depression. They were monitored for 7 consecutive nights at home with wrist actigraphs to evaluate objective sleep-related activity. Blockwise multiple regression analyses were performed to determine which variables were the most important predictors of sleep measures. ACE proved to be important predictors of actigraphically assessed sleep onset latency, sleep efficiency, number of body movements, and moving time, whereas the set of the remaining variables had no significant impact on these sleep measures. These findings suggest that there is an association between childhood maltreatment history and sleep in patients with primary insomnia. We presume that sleep-related nightly activity can be regarded as an aftereffect of long-lasting stressful experiences in childhood.

*Department of Psychology, CBT Unit, University Psychiatric Clinics, Basel, Switzerland; and †Clinic for Sleep Medicine, Lucerne, Switzerland.

Supported by the Swiss National Foundation grant 1114-067146.

Send reprint requests to Klaus Bader, PhD, University Psychiatric Clinics UPK, Wilhelm Klein-Strasse 27, CH-4025 Basel, Switzerland. E-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.