Clusters of insomnia disorder: An exploratory cluster analysis of objective sleep parameters reveals differences in neurocognitive functioning, quantitative EEG, and heart rate variability

Christopher B. Miller, Delwyn J. Bartlett, Anna E. Mullins, Kirsty L. Dodds, Christopher J. Gordon, Simon D. Kyle, Jong Won Kim, Angela L. D'Rozario, Rico S.C. Lee, Maria Comas, Nathaniel S. Marshall, Brendon J. Yee, Colin A. Espie, Ronald R. Grunstein

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Study Objectives: To empirically derive and evaluate potential clusters of Insomnia Disorder through cluster analysis from polysomnography (PSG). We hypothesized that clusters would differ on neurocognitive performance, sleep-onset measures of quantitative (q)-EEG and heart rate variability (HRV). Methods: Research volunteers with Insomnia Disorder (DSM-5) completed a neurocognitive assessment and overnight PSG measures of total sleep time (TST), wake time after sleep onset (WASO), and sleep onset latency (SOL) were used to determine clusters. Results: From 96 volunteers with Insomnia Disorder, cluster analysis derived at least two clusters from objective sleep parameters: Insomnia with normal objective sleep duration (I-NSD: n = 53) and Insomnia with short sleep duration (I-SSD: n = 43). At sleep onset, differences in HRV between I-NSD and I-SSD clusters suggest attenuated parasympathetic activity in I-SSD (P < 0.05). Preliminary work suggested three clusters by retaining the I-NSD and splitting the I-SSD cluster into two: I-SSD A (n = 29): defined by high WASO and I-SSD B (n = 14): a second I-SSD cluster with high SOL and medium WASO. The I-SSD B cluster performed worse than I-SSD A and I-NSD for sustained attention (P ≤ 0.05). In an exploratory analysis, q-EEG revealed reduced spectral power also in I-SSD B before (Delta, Alpha, Beta-1) and after sleep-onset (Beta-2) compared to I-SSD A and I-NSD (P ≤ 0.05). Conclusions: Two insomnia clusters derived from cluster analysis differ in sleep onset HRV. Preliminary data suggest evidence for three clusters in insomnia with differences for sustained attention and sleep-onset q-EEG. Clinical Trial Registration: Insomnia 100 sleep study: Australia New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) identification number 12612000049875. URL:

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1993-2004
Number of pages12
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • And phenotyping
  • Cluster analysis
  • Insomnia Disorder
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep

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