STUDY OBJECTIVES - Patients with postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS) commonly complain of fatigue, unrefreshing sleep, daytime sleepiness and diminished quality of life. The study objective was to assess sleep quality in POTS patients using wrist actigraphy.
DESIGN - Prospective study with control group.
METHODS - Patients with POTS (n = 36) and healthy subjects (n = 36) completed a detailed sleep log and actigraphy for 7 days.
RESULTS - Compared with healthy subjects, POTS patients have more self-reported problems including days with restless sleep (53 ± 30% vs. 21 ± 20%; P<0.001) and tiredness (75 ± 23% vs. 39 ± 27%; P<0.001). Using actigraphy, POTS patients have lower sleep efficiency (73 ± 13% vs. 79 ± 6%; P = 0.01). Actigraphy determined sleep onset latency (SOL) did not vary significantly in the two groups, but subjective SOL was higher in POTS patient (56 ± 66 min vs. 1 3 ± 9 min; P = 0.001). In POTS patients, there was a significant correlation between subjective complaints of tiredness and actigraphic sleep efficiency (Rs = -0.36; R(2) = 0.15; P = 0.01), significant correlations between actigraphic SOL and upright norepinephrine levels (P = 0.040), and between wake after sleep onset and standing heart rate (P = 0.02).
CONCLUSIONS - POTS patients have more sleep-related symptoms and poor sleep efficiency. The pattern of subjective vs. objective SOL mismatch is suggestive of sleep-state misperception. High norepinephrine correlated with actigraphic SOL, and this activation of the stress system may contribute significantly to a hyperarousal state with consequent insomnia, poor mental and physical health in POTS patients.
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