Adult psychophysiologic insomnia and positive history of childhood insomnia.
Sixty-five adults diagnosed with "psychophysiologic chronic insomnia" following the criteria of the Association of Sleep Disorders Centers were investigated. They were subdivided into two groups based on whether onset of the insomnia had occurred in childhood or adulthood. Fifty similar-aged patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) were also investigated and served as a contrast group. All subjects were given polygraphic recordings and structured interviews, and all completed sleep questionnaires after reviewing the questions with an investigator. On many indices evaluating subjective daytime alertness and well-being, the psychophysiologic insomnia patients had scores similar to the OSAS patients. There were no significant differences between the childhood-onset and adult-onset psychophysiologic insomnia patients on most of the investigated items. However, the childhood-onset psychophysiologic insomniinacs had moderately but significantly higher reports of nightmares. This group also reported having had longer sleep latencies, significantly more "fear of the dark" and more frequent nightmares during childhood than the adult-onset group. These statistically significant findings reflected only a moderate increase in subjective scores, however, and in general the childhood-onset and adult-onset psychophysiologic insomnia patients were very similar.