Phase relationship between skin temperature and sleep-wake rhythms in women with vascular dysregulation and controls under real-life conditions.Chronobiol Int. 2010 Oct; 27(9-10):1778-96.CI
The aim of the study was to investigate whether women with primary vascular dysregulation (VD; main symptoms of thermal discomfort with cold extremities) and difficulties initiating sleep (DIS) exhibit a disturbed phase of entrainment (Ψ) under everyday life conditions. The authors predicted a phase delay of the distal-proximal skin temperature gradient and salivary melatonin rhythms with respect to the sleep-wake cycle in women with VD and DIS (WVD) compared to controls (CON), similar to that found in their previous constant-routine laboratory data. A total of 41 young healthy women, 20 with WVD and 21 matched CON without VD and normal sleep onset latency (SOL), were investigated under ambulatory conditions (following their habitual bedtimes) during 7 days of continuous recording of skin temperatures, sleep-wake cycles monitored by actimetry and sleep-wake diaries, and single evening saliva collections for determining the circadian marker of dim light melatonin onset (DLMO). Compared to CON, WVD showed increased distal vasoconstriction at midday and in the evening, as indicated by lower distal (DIST; hands and feet) and foot-calf skin temperatures, and distal-proximal skin temperature gradients (p< .05). WVD manifested distal vasoconstriction before lights-off that also lasted longer after lights-off than in CON. In parallel, WVD exhibited a longer SOL (p< .05). To define internal phase-relationships, cross-correlation analyses were performed using diurnal rhythms of wrist activity and foot skin temperature. WVD showed a phase delay in foot skin temperature (CON versus WVD: 3.57 ± 17.28 min versus 38.50 ± 16.65 min; p< .05) but not in wrist activity. This finding was validated by additional within-subject cross-correlation analyses using the diurnal wrist activity pattern as reference. DLMO and habitual sleep times did not differ between CON and WVD. The authors conclude that WVD exhibit a phase delay of distal vasodilatation with respect to their habitual sleep-wake cycle and other circadian phase markers, such as DLMO. A full factorial design will have to show whether the finding is specific to primary vascular dysregulation, to DIS, or to their interaction.