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Identifying the insomnia-related psychological issues associated with hyperarousal

Research group Van Someren
Publication year 2024
Published in International Journal of Psychophysiology
Authors Wenrui Zhao, Eus J W Van Someren, Ziye Xu, Zhiting Ren, Ling Tang, Chenyu Li, Xu Lei

Hyperarousal, recognized as a fundamental characteristic of insomnia for decades, has yielded limited evidence concerning its direct psychological associations. This study aimed to explore the psychological factors linked to hyperarousal within the framework of interrelated variables. Two independent samples, comprising n = 917 and n = 652 young adults, were included in the study. Employing the first dataset as a discovery sample and the second dataset as a replication sample, network analyses were conducted using 26 variables derived from 17 scales. The objective was to estimate the direct and indirect associations between psychological issues, including hyperarousal and insomnia. Additionally, linear regression analysis was employed to assess the convergence of findings obtained from the network analysis. Network analyses in both samples converged to reveal direct associations between insomnia severity and several psychological factors, including negative sleep beliefs, physical fatigue, insomnia response to stress, hyperarousal, self-reported depression, and mental fatigue. Notably, the nodes with relative importance within the network include trait anxiety, depressive rumination, hyperarousal, perfectionism sub-dimension of concern over mistakes, and private self-consciousness. Hyperarousal is one of the key factors linking insomnia with a variety of psychological issues, including emotion-related factors (rumination, perveived stress), sleep-related factors (dysfunctional sleep beliefs and attitudes, insomnia response to stress, fatigue, chronotype), and self-related factors (self-consciousness, perfectionism). The results suggest that forthcoming strategies for enhancing the treatment efficacy of insomnia could consider supplementary interventions that specifically address hyperarousal, other factors directly linked to insomnia, or the hub nodes within the network.

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