Misperceptions of sleep high quality are widespread in sufferers with insomnia

According to a study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, people with insomnia often misperceive how much and how well they sleep each night.

There is a lack of data to predict sleep factors, and previous studies have shown a discrepancy between self-reported and objective sleep parameters. To assess self-reported sleep perception in patients with insomnia, the researchers in this study retrospectively assessed 303 polysomnography (PSG) tests performed in a single sleep laboratory between 2012 and 2016. Before the PSG test, each patient underwent a comprehensive, semi-structured interview on their general and sleep history. The researchers used linear regression to predict discrepancies between self-reported and objective sleep parameters, including total sleep time (TST), sleep efficiency (SE), and sleep latency (SL).

The participants in this study (mean age 48 years) had insomnia (32%), sleep-related breathing disorders (27%), sleep-related movement disorders (15%), hypersomnia / narcolepsy (14%) and parasomnias (12%). The best predictor of the discrepancy between self-reported and objective TST in this population was insomnia versus sleep-related breathing disorders (P <0.001), parasomnia (P <0.001), hypersomnia / narcolepsy (both P = 0.001). and sleep-related movement disorders (P = 0.008). There was a significant effect for a lower arousal index (P = 0.007).

Participants with insomnia underestimated TST (mean discrepancy 46 minutes; P <0.001) and SE (mean discrepancy 11%; P <0.001) significantly. Other patient groups showed no significant differences between self-reported and objective SE. Patients with sleep-related breathing disorders overestimated their TST by a median of 11 minutes (P = 0.003).

The limitations of this study included the design of a single center, its retrospective nature, and the lack of control data, which may have limited the generalizability of the results.

The study’s researchers concluded that these results indicate that “assessing the differences between self-reported and objective sleep measures may be an integral part of behavioral management for insomnia” and “supports the expanded use of PSG in these patients”.


Trimmel K., Eder HG, Böck M., Stefanic-Kejik A., Klösch G., Seidel S. The (false) perception of sleep: factors that influence the discrepancy between self-reported and objective sleep parameters. J Clin Sleep Med. Published online January 4, 2021. doi: 10.5664 / jcsm.9086

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