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Free Content Oculomotor changes are associated to daytime sleepiness in the multiple sleep latency test

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Sleep onsets in the diurnal multiple sleep latency test (MSLT), following different sleep lengths of the preceding night sleep (8, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 h) and following the corresponding recovery nights, were considered for a study on changes of oculomotor activity during sleep onset. The study aimed to assess the individual time course in spontaneous blinks (SBs) and slow eye movements (SEMs) during the sleep onset period and also the relationship with sleep latencies in the MSLT. Group analyses compared oculomotor changes between conditions characterized by a different level of daytime sleepiness. The results show a clear inverse relation between the two oculomotor measures, with a linear SB decrease and quadratic SEM increase across the wake–sleep transition. A 150 s sample of SB and SEM activity at the start of MSLT trials correlates with individual subsequent sleep latency. Finally, mean changes in daytime sleepiness as measured by the MSLT are paralleled by coherent oculomotor changes, with a significant linear decrease of SB as sleepiness increases as a consequence of previous sleep reduction. Both individual and group results show that endogenous blinking is associated with moderate changes in daytime sleepiness.
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Keywords: multiple sleep latency test; sleep onset; slow eye movement; spontaneous blink

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-06-01

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